The prestigious European Museum of the Year Award as the most welcoming and friendly museum in Europe, an aspiration of opening up museums in Lithuania during COVID-19 situation, international exhibitions, a focus on emotional health and virtual content – these are the keywords of MO Museum last year. We are happy to share shortly what we created in 2021 and look forward to sharing what awaits our visitors this year.
Last year, after being completely closed for almost 3 months and then operating with restrictions, the MO Museum attracted more than 90,000 museum visitors, almost 400,000 virtual visitors, and more than 12,000 schoolchildren who took part in the education activities that took place during only half of the year.
Exhibitions, new initiatives and activities at the MO – what was memorable in 2021 and what’s not to be missed in 2022?
2021 is the year of leadership
“First of all, we can all rejoice together that the MO – the art museum in Lithuania – has won the prestigious award of the most welcoming museum in Europe, competing against 62 other international museums,” says Milda Ivanauskienė, the MO’s director.
On the other hand, she adds, the past year has shown that the potential and benefits of museums for society are not sufficiently understood and articulated: “One aspect in particular, which has also started to be discussed internationally, is the positive impact that museums and culture have on people’s mental and emotional health. This was one of the arguments when we took the lead to open museums in Lithuania as soon as possible in March. Accordingly, in the autumn, we proposed a pilot project – to integrate a museum visit prescription into the Lithuanian healthcare system.”
The opportunity to open museums has allowed us to display several postponed exhibitions.
We invited to the international exhibition “A Difficult Age. Szapocznikow – Wajda – Wróblewski” (curated by Anda Rottenberg), which was followed by “A Difficult Age: Vilnius, 1939–1949” (curated by Prof. Dr. Giedrė Jankevičiūtė). Both exhibitions were appreciated by professionals as significant cultural events of the year.
For the first time in Lithuania, the exhibition for children “Lake Full of Stars” became the most visited family exhibition. We kept our focus on children in the autumn as well, organising the Children’s Night at the Museum for the first time in Lithuania.
In the autumn, we presented the photography exhibition “Celebrate for Change” (curated by Tomas Pabedinskas and Ugne Paberžytė), published the brand new MO magazine “MOgazine“, and the MO TV and the “Young Painter Prize” exhibition saw the light of day.
The must see exhibition in 2022
In 2022, we will invite you to extraordinary major exhibitions.
The highlight of 2022 for the MO Museum and an exceptional event in Lithuanian art scene will be the opening of a joint exhibition “The Meeting that Never Was“ (curated by Charles Esche, Anders Kreuger and Gabrielė Radzevičiūtė) together with the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven in the autumn. It will bring together works by the most prominent Lithuanian artists with works by the most famous artists of the US and European art world of the 1960s and 1990s.
For the first time in Lithuania, you will have the opportunity to see such a selection of the greats, whose works are exhibited in the world’s most visited museums: Andy Warhol, Guerrilla Girls, Bruce Nauman, Yves Klein, Donald Judd, Marlene Dumas, David Flavin and others.
This exhibition will be complemented by the small exhibition on Op art (curated by Deima Žuklytė-Gasperaitienė). It will explore the origins of Lithuanian Op art and analyse the relationship between op art and minimalism.
The exhibition both in Vilnius and Kaunas
In spring 2022, we will join one of the most important cultural events of the year – Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022.
Together with Kaunas City Museum we will organise the exhibition “Kaunas–Vilnius: Moving Mountains“ (author of the exhibition concept – Tomas Vaiseta, curators and co-curators: Justina Juodišiūtė, Kotryna Lingienė, Kęstutis Lingys, Ernestas Parulskis, Miglė Survilaitė, Rasa Žukienė). This exhibition is a part of the Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 programme.
It will discuss the interaction between cities and the identity of citizens. And the culture and social life of Kaunas and Vilnius will be explored from different angles, revealing the fundamental interdependence between the two cities. The necessity of Kaunas and Vilnius to be together will also be revealed by the architecture of the exhibition: to see the whole exhibition, you have to visit both cities.
Preparing for the 700th anniversary of Vilnius
Spartak. Pajuodupis, 2006
Chromogenic print, 80 x 100
We are already starting to prepare for a major event in 2023 – the 700th anniversary of Vilnius City. From the 10th of February we will be exhibiting the latest photographs from Andrew Miksys’ “BAXT” project (curated by A. Miksys), which has been running for more than 20 years. The artist met the people in his portraits in various places in Lithuania, from Vilnius to Žagarė.
This exhibition is an opportunity to take a fresh look at the situation of the Romani people in Lithuania through the perspective of visual art, to critically review the prejudices associated with this community, and to delve into the different points of view and life experiences that the artist has captured in his portraits.
This exhibition is a part of the 700th anniversary of Vilnius programme.
2022 – a year of the Travelling Museum
We are designating 2022 as a very active year of MO as the Travelling Museum – we will be travelling around Lithuania with an adapted version of the photography exhibition “Celebrate for Change”, Family Sundays, educational activities and trainings. We will invite you to experience different forms of celebration, to discuss, discover and get to know yourself better.
MO Museum’s project “Travelling Museum: Get to Know Yourself through Art” is funded by the European Economic Area and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms (instrument “Development of Cultural Accessibility and Strengthening Cultural Education”). It will also reach Lithuanian towns and cities further away from the physical museum: Marijampolė, Šilutė, Antalieptė, Akmenė, Šalčininkai and Molėtai.
MOrathons and other events are coming up
As it is becoming customary, all major exhibitions at the MO Museum will be accompanied by exhibition opening festivals – MOrathons. Families will be invited to Family Sundays, and those who want to learn more about modern art will be invited to Back2school lectures together with Ričardas Jankauskas. In the summer, we will once again host children’s summer camps, “MO outside” events, poetry readings and dance performances.
Also, we will hold the special events for MOdernists, as well as MO partners and friends, we will invite teachers to our annual Teacher’s Pass conference, and we will once again build up with our loyal and new MO volunteers.
In spring, we will be launching one more Talking Vilnius Sculpture, and in autumn, we will organise the third edition of the virtual Lithuanian modern art game “MOdyssey”. This time, you will have the opportunity to learn about Lithuanian minimalists and modernists and their links with Western artists.