Happy birthday, Cai Guo-Qiang.  This series of photos is a TBT to the exhibition “Cai Guo-Qiang: Fallen Blossoms,” which was the result of a close collaboration between the Museum and The Fabric Workshop and Museum. A one-time ephemeral event, “Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project,” was held on the East Terrace on Dec. 11, 2009, as a memorial to the late Anne d’Harnoncourt, former director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Fallen Blossoms” derives its name from the classical Chinese proverb “hua kai hua luo,” which speaks to the profound feeling of loss when a life is cut short unexpectedly.

“Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project,” December 11, 2009, by Cai Guo-Qiang (Site-specific gunpowder explosion on the East Terrace of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Courtesy of the artist)

This picture, about the story of the god Jupiter transforming himself into a white bull and abducting the nymph Europa, has been in Philadelphia since 1815. It belonged to Joseph Bonaparte, who lived here in exile following the fall of his brother, the emperor Napoleon.

The Abduction of Europa,” 1727, by Noël-Nicolas Coypel


Ariell Johnson, the first black woman to own a comic store on the East Coast, is on a new Marvel cover

In December 2015, 33-year-old Ariell Johnson took two of her passions — reading comic books and drinking coffee — and joined them into one business: Amalgam Comics & Coffeeshop. When Johnson opened the doors to the Philadelphia fixture, she became the first black female comic book store owner not just in the city, but on the entire East Coast.

Now, that world is giving her props in the most fitting way it can: by drawing her into it. In November, one of the variant covers of Invincible Iron Man #1 will feature Johnson laughing over coffee with Riri Williams, the new black teen heroine at the center of the series. Johnson recalled the one super hero that inspired her love of comics.

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Reverend Howard Finster created some forty-seven thousand individual works over his twenty-five year career. Recipient of a 1982 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and a favorite of R.E.M. and the Talking Heads, Finster has been one of America’s most recognized self-taught artists since the 1980s.

‘“My Vision of Another World,” #1,146,’ 1978, Howard Finster © Estate of Howard Finster