Salman Toor (NYC Special Episode)

NYC Special Episode!!! Robert and Russell meet artist Salman Toor (b. 1983) at his studio in Brooklyn, New York as he puts the finishing touches to his paintings for his first institutional solo show at Whitney Museum of American Art. Known for his small-scale figurative works that combine academic technique and a quick, sketch-like style, Toor offers intimate views into the imagined lives of young, queer Brown men residing between New York City and South Asia. Recurring colour palettes and references to art history heighten the emotional impact of Toor’s paintings and add a fantastical element to his narratives drawn from lived experience. 

Lush interior scenes depict friends dancing, playing with puppies, and gazing into their smartphones. In these idealistic settings, Toor’s figures are freed from the impositions placed upon them by the outside world. In contrast, his more muted tableaus highlight moments of passivity to convey nostalgia or alienation. One painting features a forlorn man whose possessions are on display for the scrutiny of airport security officers; another renders unspoken tensions around a family dinner table palpable. Taken as a whole, Toor’s paintings consider vulnerability within contemporary public and private life and the notion of community in the context of queer, diasporic identity. 

Toor was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1983 and currently lives and works in New York. He studied painting and drawing at Ohio Wesleyan University, and received his MFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Salman Toor: How Will I Know is on view at the Whitney Museum, New York until April 4, 2021 and is accompanied by a new publication:

Follow and view more of his work at Instagram: @Salman.Toor and visit Toor's artist page at Luhring Augustine Gallery:

For images of all artworks discussed in this episode visit @TalkArt. Talk Art theme music by Jack Northover @JackNorthoverMusic courtesy of We've just joined Twitter too @TalkArt. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to Talk Art, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email

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