Thao Nguyen, Sam Schwartz and Sam
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Denizens of the L.A. art world gathered high up in the rarified air of Beverly Hills at the home of Sam and Shanit Schwartz on Wednesday night for a private reception to kick off Art Los Angeles Contemporary (Jan. 30-Feb. 2), now in its fifth year at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. ALAC founder and director Tim Fleming calls Sam Schwartz — whose Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency reps some of Hollywood’s most prominent music talents, including film composers John Williams, Ennio Morricone and Thomas Newman — one of L.A.’s top collectors. But it’s Schwartz’s daughter Alexys Schwartz who has been curating the Schwartz collection for the last few years, bringing it into the 21st Century.

She has built on holdings that include many of the old guard from L.A. such as Ruscha, Baldessari and Paul McCarthy with more recent artists such as Sterling Ruby, Mark Grotjean, Danh Vo and Oscar Murillo.

Although her parents were the hosts, it was Alexys — who studied art at Boston U and Sotheby’s — who was the belle of the ball, seemingly familiar with everyone on a first-name basis, whether they were artists, gallery owners or collectors.

“I introduce the really young stuff,” she told Variety of her contributions to the family trust. “I travel the world looking for art. It’s my business, it’s not my father’s business — it’s his passion, his hobby. I’m finding the guy who’s 27 years old and is young and exciting and bringing him into this collection.”

Of course, when she finds that twentysometing painter or sculptor it’s before they’ve graduated from selling their work for the thousands into the hundreds of thousands, and even millions. “The focus has always been on emerging art, but as of now those artists have already emerged.”

(Pictured: CAA’s Thao Nguyen, Sam Schwartz and artist Sam Falls at the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Kick Off Reception)

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