Godfrey Barker gets cozy with Joe La Placa and his trader partner, Mike Platt, as they explain the theory and practice that animates their AVA fund:
The pair launched AVA in 2008 with one aim: to build a contemporary art collection not by shopping for pictures, but by commissioning them from the artists. They have a two-year contract with each artist and guarantee that they will keep some of the work for five years. Platt puts up the capital, which runs into millions, and La Placa chooses the artists. […]
‘If you’re someone who needs backing culturally or financially to produce your art, Joe will stick his neck out for you; he’s very generous from an artist’s perspective – but it doesn’t feel like charity because he’s so passionate about it.’ Charity it is not. Platt and La Placa’s main interest is funding monumental works of art. You’re an artist in Hoxton or Bethnal Green and you dream of building something ambitious that costs £10,000 or £50,000 or £1 million but you haven’t got the readies? Joe will lend you their expertise and financing and help you build it. AVA will take a work for its collection in lieu of the production costs, and sell others, hopefully to major collectors or institutions. AVA gets an artwork and the profits from sales are divided.
How Mike Platt and Joe La Paca Took Over the Contemporary Art World (This Is London/Evening Standard)