Salman Toor: No Ordinary Love Open November 16 at Rose Art Museum

Boys in Bed

Salman Toor, Boys in Bed, 2021. Oil on panel. Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University. Gift of Adam and Rachel Green, 2023.9. © Salman Toor; Courtesy of the artist and Lurhing Augustine, New York.

(Waltham, Mass. September 2023)Salman Toor: No Ordinary Love, on view at the Rose Art Museum November 16, 2023–February 11, 2024, brings together more than 45 recent paintings and works on paper by the Pakistan-born, New York-based artist. The exhibition will also display two of Toor’s sketchbooks, illuminating his creative process. Exploring his experiences as a Queer diasporic South Asian man, Toor weaves motifs found in historical paintings with contemporary moments to create imaginative new worlds for the 21st century. Salman Toor: No Ordinary Love explores themes of desire, family, and tradition while capturing Toor’s unique ability to engage with and reimagine art historical traditions. Toor’s distinct hybrid compositions center Queer figures of color and reconsider outdated concepts of power and sexuality.

“We are honored to present this riveting exhibition and to provide our audiences with an opportunity to experience Toor’s breathtaking work first-hand,” said Dr. Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator of the Rose Art Museum, who organized the Rose’s presentation of the traveling exhibition. “Toor is a stellar painter and virtuoso draftsman who has created a body of work that is beautiful and profoundly significant. Works like Boys in Bed (2021), recently acquired by the Rose Art Museum, and others in the show are imbued with sensuality, vulnerability, and humor, showcasing the artist’s deep art historical knowledge, spanning European, American, and South Asian traditions.”

Drawing on his memories of life in Pakistan, Toor evokes images that seem to reckon with, if not reconcile, South Asian culture and the security of family ties. Employing his distinct “emerald green” palette, the artist explores his hopes and anxieties about the Queer experience in his native Pakistan and his adopted home New York City. His landscapes become spaces of danger, escape, Queer love, and connection. Artistic genres, such as portraiture, landscape painting, and interiors; social histories related to gender and sexuality; and cultural histories, including the brutal legacies of imperialism embedded within many museum collections, are also reconsidered.

For the Rose presentation of No Ordinary Love, the exhibition will be nestled within the museum’s permanent collection, creating formal and thematic dialogues between Toor’s paintings and drawings and other works of art. The Rose Art Museum is the final venue for Salman Toor: No Ordinary Love; previous venues included the Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida. The exhibition was organized by and debuted at the Baltimore Museum of Art and curated by Dr. Asma Naeem, Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Acclaimed writers Evan Moffitt and Hanya Yangagihara contributed essays to the exhibition’s accompanying illustrated catalogue.

The Rose Art Museum will host a reception, open to the public, on Thursday, November 16, at 6 p.m. to celebrate the exhibition. A robust slate of programs, including an artist talk, will activate the show during its presentation.



Salman Toor (b. Lahore, Pakistan, 1983) lives in New York. His first institutional solo exhibition, Salman Toor: How Will I Know, was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY in 2020-2021. A major solo presentation of Toor’s work, recently on view at M Woods in Beijing in Winter 2023, will open at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Fall 2023. He has been featured in numerous group exhibitions and projects, including Living Histories: Queer Views and Old Masters at Frick Madison, New York, NY, and others held at the RISD Museum, Providence, RI; the Public Art Fund, New York, NY; Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montréal, Canada; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL; Lahore Biennale 2018, Pakistan; and the 2016 Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India. Toor is the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, and his work is in many public collections.



Salman Toor: No Ordinary Love is organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art and curated by Dr. Asma Naeem, Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Rose Art Museum presentation is organized by Dr. Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator and Professor of Fine Arts and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University with contributions by Dorian Keeffe, Collections Care and Exhibition Production Assistant.



Major support for this exhibition is provided by the Further Forward Foundation in memory of Jennifer Combs, with additional support from Adam Green, Beth Marcus, Lance Renner, and the Green Family Art Foundation.



The Rose Art Museum fosters community, experimentation, and scholarship through direct engagement with modern and contemporary art, artists, and ideas. Founded in 1961, the Rose is among the nation’s preeminent university art museums and houses one of New England's most extensive collections of modern and contemporary art. Through its exceptional collection, support of emerging artists, and innovative programming, the Museum serves as a nexus for art and social justice at Brandeis University and beyond. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Boston, the Rose Art Museum is open Wednesdays–Sundays, 11 AM–5 PM. Admission is free.

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