How Suchi Reddy Tackled Art Basel Miami Beach Week

Suchi Reddy standing in front of one of her works at Miami Art Basel
Steve Benisty/ Image Courtesy of Lexus

Suchi Reddy, the architect, artist, and founder of the firm Reddymade, has exhibited at the Smithsonian, collaborated with Ai Weiwei, and developed a style all her own—one which combines a scientific edge with a feeling of serenity. But Reddy had never properly exhibited a piece during Art Basel Miami Beach. All that changed this year, when Lexus commissioned Reddy to produce Shaped by Air, a sculptural installation in the garden of Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art inspired by the Lexus Electrified Sport. Mixing mechanical gray pieces with Matisse-inspired green shapes, the piece further comes to life at night with actual mist and lights. Although Reddy has visited Miami during the fairs before, the experience changed her outlook on the week. Her advice: do make sure to see some good art, but don’t be afraid to take some time to actually go to the beach.

This was your first time exhibiting a project during the week around Art Basel Miami Beach. Does that change the experience for you?

It absolutely does. Being an exhibitor and having something for people to react to makes a very different experience. I felt more like part of the community. Sometimes you just go as a guest and it feels like going to the circus. But I have such deep respect for the ICA and what they do. I was there a few years ago to see a Larry Bell exhibit—he’s one of my favorite artists—and I was amazed at the show.

Steve Benisty/ Courtesy of Lexus.

Your piece was inspired in part by Lexus, but also I’m assuming by the space in which it was displayed.

Absolutely. That was an amazing thing that it could go in this garden between sculptures by Pedro Reyes and the duo Allora & Calzadilla, two artists whom I really appreciate. They’re big stone sculptures. It was like this beautiful kind of synchronicity. I’ve been thinking in this kind of perverse way about how I can take a solid object like a car and see how effervescent I can make it. So I was thinking about mist and air as a material. I met the designers of the car and they were telling me about the aerodynamics and how the shapes really came from the aerodynamics. I started really thinking that the only thing I could do here is to dematerialize this sculpture as much as possible because if I had put a big solid object between these other two solid objects, they just wouldn't be space for them all.

Did you get a chance to go around and see other things during the week?

I did go to the main fair. I saw an amazing sculpture by Richard Deacon, who’s one of my favorites. I always say, if I see one piece of art that really inspires me, that’s good. I don’t need more than that.

Steve Benisty/ Courtesy of Lexus.

Did you get to do anything non-art related?

I went to an Aerobanquets event and I had a meal in VR by an Indian chef, Chintan Pandya, whose food I love. It was kind of art-related: the artist Mattia Casalegno created the visuals and the chef that created the food.

Oh, and the beach of course.

Are you based in New York?

I am, but I grew up in India, in Chennai, on the Indian Ocean. So going to the beach and seeing the horizon is a huge part of my soul.

Most people do not actually get a chance to go down to the beach.

That’s my religious bit of sanity. Wake up in the morning, go do that before anything else, and then you can face the day.

What advice would you have for people during a week like this?

My advice would be to drink a lot of water, go to the beach, definitely do a museum a day, and one fair a day. No more than that. Otherwise, it’s a recipe for getting overwhelmed.

And if they had to pack just one thing?

Their sense of wonder.