Los Angeles is home to plenty of legends, and Hotel Figueroa is no exception. The 92-year-old downtown destination has undergone a major face-lift, and while the rich history of the former YWCA still takes center stage, the Spanish Colonial landmark is now thoroughly modern. One important aspect of the update: director of experience Seulgi Oh’s Artist in Residence program, which launched with photographer, director and documentarian Estevan Oriol.
“She curated a solo show for me at Milk in 2016,” Oriol says of Oh. “To date that was my best solo show.” Oriol sold half of his displayed pieces that night and took the other half to Hotel Figueroa, along with a few archived selections that all depict his trademark juxtaposition of grit and glamour. For Oh, Oriol was a natural fit. “I’ve seen other programs, but they typically last one night or one week and it just didn’t feel substantial enough to me,” she says. “I wanted something like Claude Monet at The Savoy.”
While the opportunity is currently available by invitation only, Oh says she plans to expand the program for open submissions in the future. As for Oriol, the experience allowed him to display some of his most personal work, including one piece titled L.A. Fingers. “That’s one of my most iconic photos and it represents our city worldwide,” he says. “And to me, Hotel Figueroa is in the heart of the city!”