Directed by Jennifer Trainer, a former journalist and one of MASS MoCA’s original builders, and narrated by Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep, the documentary tells the story of an unconventional museum, the small town of North Adams, MA it calls home, and the great risk, hope, and power of art to transform a desolate post-industrial city.
Today, MASS MoCA is the largest museum for contemporary art in the world—but just three decades ago, its vast brick buildings were the abandoned relics of a shuttered factory. This documentary tells how such a wildly improbable transformation came to be. MUSEUM TOWN also looks at the artistic process itself—not only how museums work but how artists create, tracking celebrated artist Nick Cave as he builds the monumental installation “Until,” a reflection on gun violence, race, and the American Dream.
In addition to Nick Cave, the documentary features appearances by artists James Turrell, Laurie Anderson and David Byrne, with original music and soundtrack by John Stirratt of Wilco, featuring songs by Talking Heads, Sharon Jones, Big Thief, Wilco, Moses Sumney among others.