The MO Modern Art Museum in Vilnius is dedicated to the exploration of works created from 1960 to present by Lithuanian artists. The collection, belonging to Viktoras Butkus and Danguole Butkiene, co-founders of the non-profit Modern Art Center (MAC) Vilnius, contains more than 4,000 works including paintings: Vincas Kisarauskas “Falling Broken Man” 1965; Arvydas Saltenis “Woman” 1972; and Kostas Dereskevicius “Mailboxes” 1987; photographs by Antanas Sutkus “J. P. Sartre ir S. de Beauvoir in Lithuania”; video by Deimantas Narkevicius “The Dud Effect”.
With a new public piazza located steps away from the historic medieval city, the 3,100 sq-meters museum stands as an expression of Vilnius past and present. The MO Museum is conceived as a cultural “gateway” connecting the 18th century grid to the medieval walled city. The concept is inspired by the historic gates of the city and references the local architecture both in form and materials.
The rectilinear exterior façade is clad in luminous, white plaster that references the local materials of the city. As visitors approach the museum, they encounter a dramatic open stair that intersects the museum on a diagonal axis creating an expressive counterpoint to the minimalist façade. The stair cuts the façade open connecting the street with the upper levels of the museum giving way to an openness that flows between inside and out. At the top of the exterior stair is a stepped open air terraced roof that serves as a gathering area and place for public performances and talks. A five meter cantilevered fully glazed wall allows views from the galleries to the public terrace.
On the northern side of the building, visitors will enter though a two-story (8 meter tall) glazed entrance into a light filled lobby. Here, the theme of inside and out continues to play out with geometric interior skylights that cut through the building ushering in daylight to the lower floors and allowing views to the upper floors. An interior glazed opening offers visitors a peek behind the scenes and into the collection storage vault. These unexpected and sometimes playful moments continue throughout the museum.
The museum includes a café, bookstore, educational areas, auditorium, as well as storage and administrative space.