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Bernard Williams & Damon Locks


A woman walks by a black tractor in front of a large building.
Installation view, Bernard Williams: The Black Tractor Project, Arts Club of Chicago, 2020.

About the Program

Artist Bernard Williams creates projects that investigate the complexities of American history and culture through painting, sculpture, and installation. In The Arts Club Garden, he premieres a new work titled The Black Tractor Project, inspired by the 2016 Black Farmers Settlement and the injustice experienced by thousands of African American and minority farmers at the hands of the USDA since the 1960s. The project straddles the contentious notion of reparations simmering in public discussions around the United States and across the globe. Williams is joined by musician Damon Locks, launching The Black Tractor Project with discussion and the convergence of two art forms. Reflecting on Williams’s garden sculpture with a new sound piece, Locks presents an intuitive layering of found sounds, appropriated content from popular music, and documentary material related to the subject. He mixes all of the above with archival recordings from Williams’s recent visit to Alabama, creating a work to operate alongside the black tractor sculpture, an abstract tangle of audio commentary on cases of institutional racism in agriculture.