“A remarkable achievement. This is art as cultural inspiration and economic development.”


Directed by Jennifer Trainer, a former journalist and one of MASS MoCA’s original builders, and narrated by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, Museum Town 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 artist 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, and featuring songs by Talking Heads, Sharon Jones, Big Thief, Wilco, Moses Sumney among others. 

Three Iconoclasts: ICA Artists on Film

Throughout December and January, the ICA presents three feature-length films highlighting the creativity, ingenuity, and humanity of artists. Featuring the work of visual artists Nick Cave and Louise Bourgeois and the choreographer Elizabeth Streb, each film offers a glimpse into the creative process of three singular, iconoclastic artists, whose work has been exhibited, collected, and presented at the ICA. Compelling, thought-provoking, and occasionally heart-wrenching, the films highlight how art and artists invite us to see expansively, think differently, and live courageously.

All films are individually priced at $8 general admission; Free for ICA members.​

ICA members! Contact membership@icaboston.org for redemption code, or find it in your ICA email with subject line: “ICA at Home (for the Holidays).”