Utopian Slumps operated as an art gallery in Melbourne, Australia, from 2007 to 2014. Melissa Loughnan, Utopian Slumps’ founding director, shifted the business to an agency in 2015, through which she continues to manage public art projects, art consult, write, and perform freelance curatorial work.
In its eight years of gallery operation Utopian Slumps achieved significant critical acclaim and gained a reputation as one of Australia’s pre-eminent young commercial spaces. Beginning with a stable of nine, the gallery came to represent eighteen early-to-mid-career Australian and New Zealand artists who specialise in emerging and experimental art forms spanning conceptual painting to video and installation.
Utopian Slumps was renowned for its focus on curatorial practice, often inviting guest curators to stage exhibitions, collaborating with key local curators, and curating noteworthy Australian and international artists into its exhibition program. In addition to its curatorial focus, Utopian Slumps maintained an emphasis on producing critical writing and publications to accompany and support its exhibitions and artists. The gallery’s reputation in the contemporary art landscape was also demonstrated through its artists’ inclusion in national and international art fairs and noteworthy collections, exhibitions and biennials.
Melissa Loughnan additionally founded Slopes, a non-profit curator-run sister gallery for Utopian Slumps, together with Brooke Babington as Gallery Director and Helen Hughes as Board Member, which ran from from 2013 to 2014.