Museum Town
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Museum Town

Directed by Jennifer Trainer

Year: 2019
Running Time: 76 minutes
Country: U.S.
Language: English
English Closed Captions

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.

Reviews

“A love letter to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, to artistic experimentation and to North Adams, the struggling factory town where the institution is situated."


“Embodies the museum's goal of uniting high art, pop culture and social consciousness.”


"A stunning example of the best kind of documentary filmmaking."


“A remarkable achievement in demystifying contemporary art.”


"The most fun documentary I've seen in some time. It makes contemporary art more accessible... smart, well shot, and well delivered."


"An extraordinary museum."


"I found myself moved to tears often... made me feel like I’d actually been to MASS MoCA."


Awards
  • Official Selection: SXSW, American Film Showcase, Hamptons International Film Festival, GlobeDocs Film Festival, Provincetown Film Festival, Aspen Filmfest, Sarasota Film Festival, Naples International Film Festival, Woodstock Film Festival, Berkshire International Film Festival

Cast
Nick Cave
David Byrne
Meryl Streep

Crew
Directed by Jennifer Trainer
Produced by Jennifer Trainer, Noah Bashevkin, Ivy Meeropol, Rachel Chanoff (Executive Producer) and Jack & Susy Wadsworth (Executive Producers)

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