What's After Utopian Slumps? A New Book by Melissa Loughnan

by Thea Basiliou May 17, 2017

caleb shea

'XTY03' 2012 by Caleb Shea                                                                                 Photo courtesy of the NGV

In 2007 at the age of 24, Melissa Loughnan bravely opened Utopian Slumps a not-for-profit art gallery in Collingwood, while completing her Masters in Art Curatorship. 

In 2010 she changed the business model to a commercial gallery and moved it to Guildford Lane in Melbourne's CBD.

I have to confess that I was a huge fan of Utopian Slumps.  As one of the best galleries in Australia for emerging artists from Australia and New Zealand, I followed it eagerly and absorbed news on their artists and exhibitions.

jake walker

Untitled 2013 by Jake Walker                                                                                         Photo courtesy of Station Gallery

esther stewart

'Behind Closed Doors' by Esther Stewart                                                               Photo courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery


Artists such as Esther Stewart, Jake Walker, Caleb Shea, Dylan Martorell, Rhys Lee, Mark Rodda, Mischa Hollenbach, Justin Hinder and more made up the Utopian Slumps community. Certainly an exciting line-up.

At the end of 2014, Melissa decided to close the physical gallery and restructured the business in to an art consultancy, through public art projects, private clients, freelance curatorial work and writing.

From Australian to Zeitgeist

Melissa Loughnan's latest project is a book documenting 78 of these wonderful artists titled From Australiana to Zeitgeist: An A to Z of Contemporary Australian Art.

What a fantastic idea. Not only a great learning and reference book for anyone interested in contemporary art but also a good documentation for the future, capturing this time on paper.

Published in a colour paper back  by Thames & Hudson the book is available on-line here or in real life at good book sellers including Readings.

Thea X



Thea Basiliou
Thea Basiliou