On a cool, gray, drizzly October afternoon, I met painter Salman Toor in his Bushwick studio to discuss art, Queerness, life, and whatever else might emerge from our conversation. Salman and I have been friends for a while; this was my second time visiting his sanctuary. The first was nearly one year prior, when I attended a small party to celebrate his return to New York after a lengthy time in Pakistan. But that was a nighttime affair. In the day, despite the brume, light softly infused Toor’s workspace thanks to perpendicular walls with banks of large windows; a few miles away, the Manhattan skyline rose in sharp relief. Nearer to us, city sounds were constant: train clatter, delivery truck squeal, someone using a circular saw.
Born in Pakistan, Toor has been largely based in New York City since 1999. His work is in high demand. In a recent profile in The New Yorker, Calvin Tomkins wrote that Toor “could paint anything and make me believe in it,” which seems, to me, praise in its highest form. In 2020, Toor showed fifteen works in a solo presentation entitled How Will I Know at the Whitney; another museum show, No Ordinary Love, was on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art through late October 2022. Having just shipped a great number of works to M Woods in Beijing for yet another institutional exhibition, his studio wasn’t empty, but was clearly in a liminal state between happenings.
After talking for several hours, we shopped at the bodega across the street for tonic water and bags of ice, and the evening concluded in an intimate gathering with a few other art-world Queers. We shared hot pizza, cold Kylie Minogue branded champagne, elegant Swedish gummy candies, and searched for a tiny, shy, darling mouse who, thanks to a door left slightly ajar, insisted on crashing our party in its waning moments.
Read full interview at strangefirecollective.com