Those fresh to stumble across Melbourne’s visual art landscape may not be aware of the great legacy that laterally-minded gallery Utopian Slumps forged in its early days as a non-profit space atop a Collingwood warehouse.

Between 2007 and 2009, Director Melissa Loughnan and a diverse team of curators and collaborators made the gallery one of the most active and innovative agents for pushing new and experimental art practice Australia-wide – helping foster the careers of artists like Brendan Huntley, Dylan Martorell, Nathan Gray, Ry Haskings, Thomas Jeppe, Jake Walker and Mark Rodda in the process.

Launched last Friday, new book Utopian Slumps: The Collingwood Years not only traces the gallery’s formative gestures, but captures a pivotal and generational shift in Melbourne’s and Australia’s art scenes. Stunningly designed by Stuart Geddes of Chase & Galley, the hardcover volume features countless essays (courtesy of Helen Hughes, Rosemary Forde, Phip Murray and others), artist pages and vivid documentation of the gallery’s (hyper)active foundational years.

It makes for insightful document of a decisive (and fun) period in the recent history of contemporary art in Melbourne.

Utopian Slumps: The Collingwood Years is available from the Utopian Slumps online store and will soon be available in selected book and gallery stores.