Mark Rothko. Archaic Idol. 1945. Ink and gouache on paper, 21 7/8 × 30″ (55.6 × 76.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Joan and Lester Avnet Collection, 1978. © 2000 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Throughout history, mythologies have provided explanations for humankind’s existential surroundings through collective beliefs and shared verbal and visual narratives. Representational visual artists have long looked to ancient mythologies as a thematic repertoire, a tradition both preserved and evolved by modern and contemporary artists who continue to address and reinterpret mythological references in their works. This exhibition addresses the artistic traces of these motifs in modern art, as well as the practice of modern myth-making, through a nonlinear, thematic representation of works, following a rough chronology from 1797 to 2008. Among the artists represented are Matthew Barney, Joseph Beuys, Paul Cézanne, Enrique Chagoya, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Willem de Kooning, Juan Downey, Max Ernst, Adolph Gottlieb, Arshile Gorky, Wifredo Lam, Matta, Ana Mendieta, Wangechi Mutu, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Jackson Pollock, Odilon Redon, Mark Rothko, Jim Shaw, and Andy Warhol.

Organized by Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings, with Luis Pérez-Oramas, The Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.