March 19 – May 28, 2023]

MoCA Westport presented Rainbow in the Dark, a solo exhibition by German contemporary artist Anselm Reyle. The exhibition was curated by Newark, New Jersey-based Emann Odufu.
Docent-led tours were held on Thursdays at 1 PM and drop-in docent-led tours were available every Saturday and Sunday during gallery hours. No advance registration required; all tours included in Museum admission.

Anselm Reyle is one of the most renowned contemporary artists in the world. His best-known works include his foil and strip paintings and his sculptures. Remnants of consumer society, discarded materials, symbols of urbanity, and industrial change play a central role in his works.

The exhibition was curated by Newark, New Jersey-based Emann Odufu, an art activist, independent filmmaker, producer, screenwriter and digital media specialist. He is best known for his work that explores the genre of Afro-Futurism within black cinema.

Go behind the scenes and watch a video of the installation process featuring Reyle and Odufu. The video was created by Tanner Holmes LLC. WATCH NOW.


Anselm Reyle’s art is closely tied to Modernism, as he both draws from and critiques its traditions while also creating something new. His abstract sculptures and paintings feature vibrant fluorescent colors, recycled objects, and reflective materials like foil, glitter, and mirrors.

In this exhibition of 20 works at MoCA Westport, Reyle showcased various iconic elements of his oeuvre; including his neon installations, foil works, two vases in his signature Fat Lava style, straw bale sculptures, a new collection of abstract photography, and a video. Rainbow in the Dark results from constant development in Reyle’s artistic practice. It is rooted in his first artistic experiments with found materials like silver foil and neon tubes. Still, it displays the current representation of those ideas and concepts, highlighting Reyle’s evolution as an artist over the past decade and documenting the expansion of his visual language in the present moment.

Anselm Reyle’s neon installations, which have not been shown in the U.S. for some years, can be thought of as similar to a Moonbow — a special, rare, and beautiful event created through a set of conditions and building moments,” explains Odufu.

According to Odufu, the exhibition title Rainbow in the Dark references Reyle’s neon installation works showcased in dark environments and composed of fragments or leftover neon tubes from industrial and urban spaces. The site-specific neon installation plays a prominent role in this exhibition. An essential aspect of his practice, Reyle is almost “drawing in space” with his neon installations, turning his gestural strokes into sculpture. The neon lights channel the type of flashy storefront decoration or the gaudy culture of excess that characterizes cities like Las Vegas or Atlantic City as casino wonderlands. Reyle’s artwork explores aspects of society and culture that are considered kitsch utilizing materials that may be regarded by some as tawdry and prominently displaying them in high art settings.

Reyle’s practice is very much inspired by his participation in the punk and heavy metal music movements. His unique color palette that utilizes Day Glo colors can be seen as an outgrowth of his fascination with psychedelic and punk aesthetics. These elements came into Reyle’s awareness as a young adult in the 1980s. This period was an explosive time of extreme transformation in Berlin, especially in terms of art, music, and youth culture. Reyle’s musical influence is seen in the video displayed as part of Rainbow in the Dark, entitled Anselm Reyle in Studio, which showcases the artist’s freeform gestural practice to a background of a pulsating heavy metal guitar.

MoCA Westport thanks The Union House for their generous support in funding the Rainbow in the Dark exhibition.

More About The Curator

Emann Odufu is a writer, film maker, cultural critic and curator. His writing and film work have been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Document Journal, Okay Africa, and other leading magazines. He has spoken about his creative work at various universities around the United States including, but not limited to, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and NYU as well as cultural institutions such as the British Film Institute and MoCADA.

Born and raised in Newark, NJ, but of Guyanese and Nigerian descent, his writing seeks to make fine art accessible to demographics typically excluded from conversations about fine art. Over the past decade, by pursuing creative endeavors in film, working in the studio of fine artist Hank Willis Thomas, and being exposed to the national infrastructure of art institutions and organizations, he has developed a unique perspective on art’s role for contemporary society.

Most recently, Emann has written an essay on the artist Anselm Reyle, which has been included in the catalog of his recent exhibition, Heavy, at the Dirimart Gallery in Istanbul, Turkey and curated a solo show of artist Samuel Stabler at the National Arts Club in NYC.

More About Reyle (courtesy König Galerie)

Anselm Reyle (born 1970 in Tübingen, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. Since 2009 the artist has held a position as a professor of Painting/Drawing at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg.

Anselm Reyle’s best-known works include his foil and stripe paintings as well as his sculptures. Characteristic of his artistic work is the use of various found objects that have been removed from their original function, altered visually and recontextualized. Remnants of consumer society, discarded materials, symbols of urbanity, and industrial change play a central role in his oeuvre.

Anselm Reyle’s works have been shown in numerous institutional solo exhibitions, including Aranya Art Centre, Qinhuangdao (2020), Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2012), the Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2012), The Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishoj (2011), Des Moines ArtCenter, Iowa (2011), Kunsthalle Tübingen (2009), and Kunsthalle Zürich (2006).  Reyle’s works are part of numerous private and public collections worldwide,  such as Centre Pompidou, Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, Pinault Collection, Venice,  Saatchi Gallery, London, Nationalgalerie / Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Sammlung  Boros,  Berlin, Collection Ringier, Zurich, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, Des Moines Art  Center, Iowa, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Leeum / Samsung Museum of Modern  Art, Seoul, Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Essl Museum – Kunst der Gegenwart,  Klosterneuburg, among many others.

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