In the Mix
Maestro Dobel Artpothecary Creative Director Alejandra Martínez on Mexico’s golden age of creativity, then and now
Our mission is to create a space where contemporary artists and designers can share their work with international audiences, while creating experiences that reflect the spirit of innovation that infuses our contemporary scene,” Alejandra Martinez explains about Maestro Dobel’s Artpothecary program.
As the Maestro Dobel Artpothecary Creative Director, Martinez spearheads the Jalisco-based tequila brand’s wide-ranging efforts to support Mexico’s contemporary creative culture and artisanal heritage. You can find her most recent project currently on view at Design Miami/ 2022: a vibrant, bougainvillea-filled tequila bar that celebrates Mexico’s golden age of design, created in collaboration with Mexico City atelier Clásicos Mexicanos.
Given the tremendous international buzz surrounding Mexican arts and culture in recent years, we were eager to hear more about Martinez’s work and the insights she’s gained as a patron and talent scout in her home country. Here’s what she had to say…
For those who may be unfamiliar, what is Maestro Dobel Artpothecary, and what is your role in bringing its mission to life?
Just as Maestro Dobel honors the traditions of tequila—leaning on over two centuries of mastery—Maestro Dobel Artpothecary shines a light on those who embrace a similar contemporary vision and commitment to heritage in their own craft. We showcase contemporary art and design talents across cultural platforms in the US, while championing core values around what hospitality means for Mexicans—the central role that tequila has played in the art of hosting in Mexico.
I’m honored to have been invited to this project as a Creative Director. I have the fun and exciting role of exploring the work of designers and visual and performing artists, while developing thematics that express our shared values in the most sincere and genuine way.
Tell us about Maestro Dobel’s presentation at Design Miami/ this year?
This year’s Artpothecary thematic is ‘The Mexican Golden Age,'' celebrating Mexico’s modernist aesthetic, which was a truly special era in our architectural, design, and artistic history. It is considered our first grassroots movement—the first internal construction of the “Mexican” identity—when Mexican creatives boldly expressed their nation’s own aesthetic sensibility instead of mirroring European design.
For this project, we drew inspiration from the disruptive legacy of Luis Barragán and his unique approach to geometry, light, and color. To date, he is considered the godfather of emotional architecture and spiritual modernism. He remains Mexico’s only Pritzker Prize winner. We also looked to Ricardo Legorreta, one of Mexico’s most successful modernist architects and a disciple of Barragán, who worked closely with geometry, color, and light to create unique yet liveable environments. His many hotels, homes, and urban spaces are icons of the modern Mexican style.
With these masters in mind, we collaborated with Mexico City-based Clásicos Mexicanos to create a contemporary homage to Mexican modernism. The space brings together original designs from Legorreta’s Vallarta collection, first made in the early 1970s for the Hotel Camino Real in Puerto Vallarta, alongside original works by painter Mathias Goeritz, Barragán’s most famous collaborator. The bar offers a modern menu by Chef Jorge Vallejo of Quintonil and a selection of Maestro Dobel cocktails.
How would you encapsulate the balance between honoring heritage and driving innovation in Mexico’s creative culture today?
Mexico is booming in every cultural sense, across art forms—artistic, culinary, cinematic, design, architectural, and more. Our beautiful melting pot of creative minds is no longer only local but also includes many talents from abroad, who have moved to Mexico to birth their creations. It’s exhilarating to participate in such a daring and rich cultural scene!
Balance is key, and it is exactly where we are at this point. How do you maintain the essence of the country with so much international attention and so many foreigners moving to our cities? It’s a complicated problem, but I believe in the depth of our roots, the strength of our people, and the richness of our folklore—it’s in our veins. I believe it is a very exciting time to be Mexican and be involved in this particular experiment. I myself couldn’t be more grateful.
Tell us more about the recently announced Maestro Dobel Latinx Art Prize?
This incredibly special initiative builds on Maestro Dobel’s mission to support the artistic community. In partnership with El Museo del Barrio in New York, the US’s leading Latinx cultural institution, the Maestro Dobel Latinx Art Prize aims to raise awareness and amplify the cultural production of Latinx artists—a segment that has historically been underrepresented in the artworld at large. The prize represents a significant step towards addressing the need for representation and further supporting the development of Latinx craft and creativity.
Based on their contributions to social, cultural, and historical dialogues, a group of five finalists will be selected by a jury of distinguished museum directors, curators, and critics, before one winner is ultimately identified. Administered by El Museo del Barrio, the prize will be awarded every two years and includes a $50,000 grant and a showcase in the museum’s galleries. The inaugural recipient will be announced in Fall 2023.
What’s next for you and Maestro Dobel?
Maestro Dobel’s Artpothecary will continue creating exquisite experiences for special audiences, like the guests of Design Miami/. We are already planning and ideating for the next thematic and thinking about showcasing deep and colorful new collaborations with a more artisanal touch. Stay tuned… ◆