Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Salman Toor, a Painter at Home in Two Worlds

By Roberta Smith
Salman Toor’s “Bar Boy” (2019) is one of three mostly green paintings in the artist’s Whitney Museum debut. Salman Toor and Luhring Augustine, via Whitney Museum of American Art
A brilliant debut at the Whitney Museum by the artist — born in Pakistan and based in New York — refreshes figurative painting by using it as a means to explore identity. Salman Toor’s evocative, tenderly executed paintings begin to pluck at your heartstrings almost as soon as you see them. The 15 examples of new and recent work that form “How Will I Know,” the artist’s brilliant New York institutional debut at the Whitney Museum of American Art tell the stories of lanky, slightly rubbery dark-haired young men, gentle souls who wouldn’t hurt a flea. The narrative import zigzags from the personal to the social and political and back. It doesn’t take long to figure out that the main characters here are gay, and not white. [More