Vagner Whitehead

Vagner Whitehead

whitehead photo

Vagner Whitehead
Associate professor
Department of Art and Art History

Vagner Whitehead is an accomplished artist who brings a wealth of knowledge to his position as an associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History. Whitehead was hired in 2005 to develop the new media specialization in the studio art program, which has become one of the most popular areas of the department.

Since joining OU, Whitehead has taught a range of courses, including Video Art, Advanced New Media, Advanced Photography and New Media, and Internet Art. He has also acted as a department adviser for one year and served on various committees at the department, college and university level. He is on the National Board of Directors for the New Media Caucus and has volunteered for other community organizations, including the Michigan AIDS Coalition’s Artworks Detroit committee, Paint Creek Center for the Arts’ Exhibitions committee and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs’ Mini-grant Review committee. 

He was awarded a Faculty Research Fellowship from OU and a partial scholarship to attend the Santa Fe Art Institute as an artist-in-residence this past summer. Recently, he was one of 35 artists selected to create media installations for Detroit’s inaugural DLECTRICITY electronic art festival, which attracted 75,000 attendees. His commissioned work, which can be viewed here, ( is called “white code: VIEW” and was installed at the façade of the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art.

 This October, his solo exhibition, “Argentum,” was displayed at the Hammes Gallery in Notre Dame, IN. Inspired by Whitehead’s 2010 art residency in La Plata, Argentina, the collection features eight large-scale triptych paintings, one silver point drawing, one mural drawing with video projection and two single-channel videos.  

In addition, Whitehead was a part of this fall’s ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, where his single-channel video “Golden” was projected in the window of the city’s police department. The piece was originally shown in a solo exhibit at the Org Contemporary Art Gallery in Detroit and was later featured in a video and film series in Germany. Other exhibitions his work has appeared in this year include “Behind the Mask: Women, Men and Masculinities,” which was shown at the University of Detroit Mercy Art and Architecture Gallery and at the University of Windsor’s SoVA Projects Gallery. He also participated in a faculty art exhibition shown at the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens, as well as the “Nude or Naked” exhibition at Northend Studios in Detroit and the “Arts on Division” festival in Somerville, NJ.

Whitehead holds a BFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design and received his MFA in Creative Photography and Electronic Intermedia from the University of Florida.

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