In 2020, MO Museum was opened for only half a year, but we received 108,000 visitors at the museum and more than 286,000 virtual visitors. Half a year – half less physical visitors. Although we didn’t work in March, April, May, November, December, and only half a foot in June, MO Museum’s activities and initiatives were still visible throughout the year.
Carefully planning 2021, we look positively and hope to open the exhibitions that did not take place last year and to continue the successful initiatives presented in 2020.
We are planning 2021 with hope, but we know that it will not be an easy year.
Creative quarantine challenges
“We are planning 2021 with hope, but we know that it will not be an easy year. Yet the past has shown that, even in conditions of great uncertainty, we are rapidly mobilizing and finding ways to continue our mission. We did a lot of things again for the first time – in order to offer high-quality virtual cultural content to visitors who could not physically come to MO, ”recalls Milda Ivanauskiene, Director of the MO Museum.
In 2020, we created and presented 20 Lithuanian art stories – video stories presenting the most prominent creators and the history of Lithuanian art from the second half of the 20th Century to the present. We introduced an innovative and unique format – “33 Minutes of Experience”, inviting to the interpretation of a single work of art, accompanied by the experience of video, sound and even taste. We organized the 1st virtual Lithuanian Art Games “MOlympics” in Lithuania. We moved some of the works in the big exhibition “Why Is It Hard to Love?” to the billboards outside.
We further strengthened the virtual MO Museum platform by launching the #menasnaMO newsletter, updating the website, introducing the MO blog with chats, articles, games, video events and meetings, the MO collection, virtual tours and news on the MO website.
The activity of the MO Museum in the digital space received over 286,000 virtual visitors in the MO website, blog and e. guide platforms in 2020. Based on a representative and annual Baltic Research survey from 2017 year, we can say that digital content is especially relevant for young people aged 18-30. The consistent and positive result of this work is in this age group in 2020 – 9% increased interest in modern and contemporary art (34% in total). In addition, this figure is well above the overall Lithuanian average (23%).
Most importantly, the challenges of quarantine did not stop the opportunity to open two impressive, exclusive exhibitions in their innovative, engaging form – “Why Is It Hard to Love?” and “From That Opera”. A successful educational project “Visual Thinking Exchanges through Art” with the British Council in Lithuania was also implemented. It was also possible to organize an educational conference for teachers all over Lithuania.
An ambitious exhibition awaits in 2021
The large and small exhibitions moved from the Autumn of 2020 are planned to open this Spring. The large exhibition of MO Museum “Difficult Age. Szapocznikow – Wajda – Wróblewski” will not only present world-famous Polish artists but will also mark a historic moment – the painter Andrzej Wróblewski (1927–1957), who was born and raised here, will return to Vilnius.
One of the most important reasons to start this project was a realization how little is known about this Vilnius resident.
We will present the work of the most prominent post-war Polish artists: film director Andrzej Wajda (1926–2016), sculptor Alina Szapocznikow (1926–1973) and painter Andrzej Wróblewski. The exhibition is curated by the famous Polish curator Anda Rottenberg, thanks to which more than 20 foreign museums and private collectors managed to lend the works of Wróblewski and Szapocznikow to the exhibition of MO Museum. They will all come from 14 European cities.
“One of the most important reasons to start this project was a realization how little is known about this Vilnius resident in Lithuania outside the narrow circle of professionals and how uncomfortable it is still to talk about the history of Vilnius in the vortex of the 2nd World War,” says M. Ivanauskiene.
The context of this major exhibition will be revealed by the exhibition in the Small Hall of the museum “Difficult Age: Vilnius, 1939–1949”, curated by prof. dr. Giedre Jankeviciute. This exhibition will not only link the MO’s major exhibition with the local context but will also present a hitherto unexplored topic in Lithuania – 1939–1949 Vilnius, the cultural exchanges that took place there and the dramatic decade of the city.
In the autumn of 2021, we will invite you to the big exhibition “Celebrate for Change”. It will examine what changes are taking place in the individual, society or its individual groups during the holidays and the role of photography in this process. In addition to the works of the most famous Lithuanian artists, we will also exhibit documentary material about subcultural festivals in Lithuania from the 1960s to the present day.
from the 1960s to the present day. For children – a night in the museum and a special exhibition
We will continue the interdisciplinary direction of education that yield results and will continue to share knowledge about the importance of art for children’s cognitive development in various ways. In June, we will present a unique small exhibition for children – “Lake Full of Stars”. It will invite children and adults to explore, through the game and Visual thinking strategy based on the practice of discovering connections between art, creativity and nature in works of the MO Museum collection.
In 2021, we hope to invite you to cancelled or postponed events as well. One of them is the highly acclaimed “Children’s Night at the Museum”. As soon as it was announced last year, there were no tickets left in one day, so we announced an additional date for the event. However, due to the quarantine, none of the “Children’s Night at the Museum” took place, but we hope that this year we will really be able to invite children to it.
Mindfulness Classes and the MOlympics
Last year, it was not possible to invite participants to mindfulness classes at the museum. This year, after the end of two quarantines, we will also offer this new opportunity – to relax, concentrate and listen to yourself and your body in the museum.
All the initiatives of last year’s spring quarantine by MO Museum were symbolically crowned by the “MOlympics” – the Lithuanian Games of Modern Art. We will invite you to discover and learn more about Lithuanian modern and contemporary art easily this year as well.