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A testament to tenacity and imagination, Museum Town tells the story of a unique museum, the small town it calls home, and the great risk, hope, and power of art to transform a post-industrial city into a mecca for contemporary art.


In 2017, MASS MoCA became the largest museum for contemporary art in the world, but just three decades before, its vast brick buildings were the abandoned relics of a massive shuttered factory. How did such a wildly improbable transformation come to be?


Threaded with interviews of a diverse cast—a tattooed curator, a fabricator, a former factory worker and shopkeepers, to name a few—the film also looks at the artistic process itself, tracking the work and ideas of celebrated artist Nick Cave as he creates his groundbreaking installation at MASS MoCA, UNTIL.


With appearances by artists ranging from James Turrell to David Byrne, narration by Meryl Streep and a soundtrack from John Stirratt of Wilco, Museum Town captures the meeting of small-town USA and the global art world as it tells a tale that is, like any great artwork, soulful, thought-provoking and unforgettable.


“A remarkable achievement. You'll appreciate the labor of the engineers, the jobs created, and the joyful participation of the volunteers — just wait until you meet adorable retiree Ruth. This is art as cultural inspiration and economic development.” — Austin Chronicle

  • Year
    2019
  • Runtime
    76 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Jennifer Trainer
  • Executive Producer
    Rachel Chanoff
  • Cinematographer
    Kirsten Johnson
  • Editor
    Pola Rapaport
  • Composer
    John Stirratt