‘Badass Indian Pinups’ Artist Nimisha Bhanot Talks Art, Identity, and Female Empowerment

Written by Elizabeth Jaikaran, Staff Writer

Indo-Canadian artist Nimisha Bhanot reached the height of Internet celebrity [last] week when her painting series, “Badass Indian Pinups,” went viral after being featured on BuzzFeed. In the feature piece, she explained that the idea for the series was conceived in 2012 when she learned of Jyoti Singh’s brutal rape and murder, the aftermath of which involved a great deal of victim blaming and affronts to female humanity. The series focuses on subjects of Indian women who are portrayed as both confident and sexually liberated. In conversation with [Brown Girl Magazine], Bhanot revealed more about what inspires her to paint, as well as her professional trajectory, past and future, as an artist.

Bhanot has had an interest in art since childhood but did not begin to take this affinity seriously until high school. She fondly recalls her high school art teacher, Mrs. Whitby, as someone who was pivotal with respect to the development of her identity as a young artist.

Not Your Mom’s Bahu by Nimisha Bhanot

Her parents have always been supportive of her career as an artist, albeit with some reservations, now settled, regarding the provocative nature of her work.

When Bhanot later started art school after leaving her college science program, she found the pedagogical transition to be one that freed her from the typical tensions of the educational experience she had known before.

Since art school, she feels that, as an artist, she is more relaxed and confident in her style.

Not Your Mom’s Bahu by Nimisha Bhanot

In comparison to traditional South Asian art, which [Bhanot] describes as “very rich in its variety of creative expression” in terms of techniques, motifs, and subject matters, Bhanot places her work among those propelling the contemporary movement of South Asian art—a movement that she characterizes as invested in tradition, as well as in identity and individualism.

Continue reading the full article at BrownGirlMagazine.com.

Editor’s note: A version of this article originally appeared on BrownGirlMagazine.com and an excerpt is republished here with permission. 

#3MonthsLeft: Even Lawyers Can Be Artists

Written by Rucha Desai, Columnist

I am not an artist. In my high school ceramics class, I made a vase without a bottom, and my mother, after seeing nothing could be put inside of it, confirmed that art (all art—the breadth of her conclusion was wide) was not my calling.

In New York City, however, anyone can be an artist, and all proclaim themselves to be.

This week, toting a subpar vegetarian sandwich from Potbelly, some leftover white wine from Valentine’s Day, and two Groupons, my little sister and I went to a class at the Painting Lounge.

Once again, we were assured that we had not foregone our true callings for other livelihoods.

It was my first night of Spring Break. With that euphoric, fleeting liberation that comes only with the beginning of a school vacation, I skipped over to Chelsea, the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc clinking in my bright yellow, dirtied, and otherwise empty backpack.

As my sister and I waited for class to begin, we watched the rest of the group stream in: a big, rowdy group celebrating a 40th birthday; a quieter family of women (mothers, sisters, daughters); two young girls—foils to my sister and me—who sat in front of us and ultimately scored highest (in a grading system born from the dark, competitive crevices of my mind); and one lone woman, enjoying her art and her Chardonnay and her solitude.

As if a caricature of a starving artist, the instructor was a professional dancer and singer and actress, and, evidently, was also very talented in acrylic painting. Step-by-step, with patience and kindness, she taught us how to imitate a work by Graham Gercken, one of the few artists celebrated by the Painting Lounge who is still alive (he sells his work on Etsy). Unlike the binary of gifted/ungifted on which I was raised, the instructor told us she was merely giving us guidance, that everyone had their own interpretations and their own visions, and that it was up to each of us to create something from the blank canvas. All of our pieces, she said, were beautiful.

I didn’t buy it. I’m too old to be soft. I’m almost done with law school, so I knew that while the piece was subject to a multiplicity of interpretations, only one would prevail. Only 10% of us could get that evasive, determinative A. There is no empathy in law school.

After the first five minutes of explanation of dashes and splotches and double dipping paints, I became immersed. I stopped sipping on wine, threw the sandwich back in my sister’s face, and began concentrating on perfection. I would be the next Graham Gercken.

Of course, my piece was not at all similar to Graham Gercken’s. I painted my yellow backpack red out of frustration. I guess there can be only one Graham Gercken.

We walked home, our paintings and backpacks and all, to drop off our stuff before venturing out for our second dinner. We discovered El Camion, likely one of the few Mexican restaurants in New York City with better food than drinks. We winced slightly at the margaritas, but rapidly and silently shoveled the fresh, wholesome tostadas and fajitas into our mouths.

After watching an episode of The Wire and listening to my roommates loudly bash Donald Trump in the hallway, we passed out. We slept sweetly and soundly, with paint on our hands and nothing heavy in our hearts. Our polymath instructor was right—we had but a blank canvas, upon which we created a lovely, memorable Wednesday night in New York City.

Breaking into Art Law: Advice from Attorneys at Christie’s Auction House

Written by Sallie Oliver, Guest Contributor

Art law is a choice for mindsets with creative solutions on an international scale. What does art law tackle? Students met with the legal in-house counsel for Christie’s Auction House on Friday, February 26th, regarding the state of the practice of art law and how budding attorneys may break into this growing field successfully.

Meeting Room at Christie's
A meeting room at Christie’s Auction House New York.


The workspace at Christie’s is beautiful. Picture a boardroom overlooking Rockefeller Plaza and a box of cookies sliding across the table, a scene that may remind one of a Vegas croupier dealing precious cards. While offering sweets, Senior Vice President and General Counsel Jason Pollack shared notable advice, “Find success where you are no matter where that is.”

Pollack joined Christie’s nine months ago, and with a smile, admitted his real passion was in becoming NFL Commissioner. The cross-disciplinary study habits for an aspiring art lawyer prove beneficiary when you are engaging in daily transactions with all different sorts of personalities.

Showroom at Christie's
A recently renovated showroom at Christie’s Auction House New York.


Counsel member Sandy Compton highly recommends clerking, and being flexible with a range of interests, as she did herself. Few museums besides those in large cities have in-house legal counsel and will instead visit boutique law firms regarding contract mediation. Not surprisingly, the New York City Auction Regulations, which are in use today, Compton stated, “were created in the 1800s and, believe it or not, horse and buggy,” are still part of its language.

Regulatory contracts are typically tolerated long after relevancy comes into question and it is no different regarding art law. Therefore, art law has different challenges. An example includes leveraging litigation to ensure a $170,000,000 sculpture does not present too much liability for Christie’s Auction House or art collectors themselves. Also, acting on behalf of art collectors to ensure that stolen art stays off of the market by partnering with international policy makers.

While buying art is still largely unregulated, art law provides a degree of risk management that creates powerful investment opportunities.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article appeared on the author’s website: http://sallieoliver.me/.

Writer’s note: Thank you to Sali Salfiti, scholar at Brooklyn Law, for reaching out to Christie’s for this event. And please note that local and international internship listings can be found via Christie’s.com.