IT WAS A SMASH: Tuesday’s opening-night party for first-time graphic novelist Kelly Roman has left quite a mark on the White Box gallery. Hours after the bash wrapped up, vandals smashed the Broome Street gallery’s window with what police suspect was a tire rod handle. White Box artistic direct Juan Puntes said he has not seen such art-inspired violence in 40-plus years. “To me, it seemed like a message was being sent,” he said. “It was a massive blow. Someone very strong busted the window enough to shatter the whole thing. We have photos, very beautiful photos.”
Police are still investigating the case. But all of Michael DeWeese’s 200 illustrations from Roman’s “Art of War” will remain on view through Tuesday. This marks the first time that all of the original drawings from a graphic novel have been displayed in their entirety, Puntes said.
For his debut, Roman greeted his 350 guests wearing a white shirt stained with fake blood. He had been warned that his Harpers Collins-published tome, which has been banned in Mainland China, might stir up some trouble, Puntes said.
The publishing world is a side gig for Roman, a Harvard graduate who studied creative writing with Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford. He co-owns Fisher Wallace Laboratories, which produces Food and Drug Administration-approved devices designed to stimulate serotonin, GABA and beta-endorphins for those afflicted with PTSD, depression, insomnia, anxiety and pain.
White Box has dealt with its own headaches lately. It was the target of three cyber attacks before and after its spring benefit, which celebrated the work of artist Ai Weiwei. During the festivities, the alternative art space lined up art dealer Ethan Cohen and DJ Spooky to have a Skype conversation with the dissident Chinese artist. “Two weeks before the event, we were hacked very badly and afterward the Web site collapsed. Our site is fine now,” Puntes said.
Undeterred by the vandalism, Puntes plans to soldier on with more multimedia exhibitions. On Sept. 12, White Box will unveil a show for San Antonio-based fashion designer Angelina Mata, who is shooting her collection in Marfa, Tex. “I told her she should change her name to ‘matar.’ In Spanish, that is an imperative for kill,” Puntes said.