Cardboard isn’t the most auspicious of art materials, but three far-flung artists—Artemis Herber of Germany, Steve Keene of the United States, and Valery Koshlyakov of Russia—separately gravitated to it, and they now find themselves drawn together in the Goethe-Institut’s “Cardboard City” exhibit. Herber offers near-dystopian cityscapes: post-industrial relics of a grim future, thickly painted in shades from brick to blood. Koshlyakov, for his part, produces monumental depictions of more classical views (shown) and often adds a cheeky vibe. His painting of Rouen’s cathedral—an update of Monet’s famed portrayal of the edifice—is limned in drips of white paint that resemble bird poo. As for Keene, his works are Warholian agglomerations of caricaturey portraits, including one that portrays rows of Civil War soldiers marching on more modern (and incongruous) Virginia landmarks like Tyson’s Galleria. The exhibit aims to answer the question, “What will our cities of today look like tomorrow?” The works displayed don’t come close to providing an answer, but measured by the artists’ creativity in the face of such unappealing raw materials, they offer a lot more visual interest than your typical flattened box.

The exhibit is on view Mondays through Thursdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Goethe-Institut, 812 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 289-1200.