MO Museum Vilnius

MO Museum (formerly known as Modern Art Center) was established in 2009 by Danguolė and Viktoras Butkus as a public institution and a “museum without walls”. The mission is to assemble a collection of modern and contemporary Lithuanian visual art that is accessible to both Lithuanian and foreign art lovers. The MO collection spans works created from 1960 to the present day.

Museum has assembled a significant collection of artworks from the Soviet period that at the time were ideologically unacceptable and therefore ignored by major Lithuanian art museums following official state policies on art. Currently, the MO collection includes more than 5 000 paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, photography, and video works. The collection of a national importance is being constantly updated with new and relevant pieces of Lithuanian art.

With a choice of no-permanent-exposition Museum is engaging dynamic experience presenting a Principal exhibition at the Main Hall every half a year accompanied by three to four exhibitions at a Small Hall.

During the first 6 months since the opening MO Museum welcomed close to 150.000 visitors.

The opening of the MO museum

October 18-21 2018, more than 10 thousand people bought tickets and visited the museum‘s exhibition „All Art Is About Us“ and its accompanying events. More than 70 events, including meetings with authors, discussions, performances, classical concerts and nightlife, were full of visitors of all ages.

Couple of performances were created especially for the museum. The visitors had a chance to see the different kind of premieres which were represented by the performance artist Kira Nova (Ieva Misevičiūtė), Eglė Budvytytė. They also heard the libretto which was specially composed for MO museum by Vaiva Grainytė and Artūras Bumšteinas. A lot of interesting collaborations also took place at the museum.

MO Museum Architecture

The MO Modern Art Museum building designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind is conceived as a cultural gateway linking the past and the future. The interior courtyard cuts through the entire building and features a dramatic staircase connecting a plaza at street level with an open terrace on the roof. The structure flows between its exterior and interior, between the public and the private.

With a total area of nearly 3,500 square meters, the building is very compact and fits contextually within the surrounding urban framework, matching the height of existing structures and aligning its façade with the street.
At first glance, the building appears simple and contained – a clarity of form that is yet another reference to Vilnius’ classical landmarks. The museum’s inner spatial and structural arrangements, however, reveal the true complexity of its design. The exterior staircase cuts through the building and opens the expanse within to create floor-to-ceiling glazing that floods the interior spaces with natural light. The building’s complex geometric structure and its angled surfaces produce unexpected visual perspectives, encouraging visitors to explore all of the museum’s spaces.
The entrance to the museum is accentuated by a glazed façade wall that allows natural light to fill the lobby. Inside, the glass wall of the storage area allows the public to see artworks from the Museum’s collection that are not currently on show. The spiral staircase located just behind the museum’s shop and the ticket counter is the focal point of the lobby. On the second level, a smaller gallery envelops a reading room, where visitors are invited to explore a rich collection of art, architecture and design publications.
Though the MO Museum is a compact building, it contains all the necessary elements to run a world-class institution, including educational areas, a multi-functional hall, administrative offices, a café and a museum shop.
In addition, almost a quarter of the site is dedicated to green space, adding to the civic importance of the project and embodying one of the museum’s key functions: to provide a welcoming environment for people to meet and interact. A sculpture garden on the northern side of the site, conceived as a quiet zone for relaxation, offers space for recreation and outdoor artwork installations. On the opposite side of the building, a family area connects with the café terrace.
The new MO Museum, realized in partnership with the Lithuanian firm Do Architects, is the first cultural project by Studio Libeskind in the Baltic region.
D. Libeskind is a world-famous architect and is known for his architectural masterpieces that include Jewish Museum in Berlin, Felix Nussbaum Haus in Osnabrück, Military history museum in Dresden and The Wohl Centre in Tel Aviv. D. Libeskind is also the master site planner of the World Trade Center Memorial in Manhattan, New York City.

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