We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


Street signs, ads, billboards, and graffiti are an omnipresent part of modern living. Urban dwellers in particular are constantly bombarded with these images—so much so that, unless they’re especially clever or shocking, stop signs and their ilk fade into the background when we survey our surroundings. Even the most elaborate graffiti ares still often considered to be nothing more than eyesores. In the exhibition “Signs & Symbols: Post-modern Petroglyphs,” local artists (photographers Mike Gallup, Ruth Horlick, and Jim Landry, as well as painter Michele Brinson) reveal the beauty in these oft-ignored tools of modern communication. Gallup focuses on rural symbols—churches and abandoned cars. Horlick’s work (Blue Alligator is pictured) captures hand-painted ads from abroad—more charming than Joe Camel or the Michelin Man could ever hope to be. Landry zeros in on simple urban forms—such as ads painted onto the sides of buildings or the clean black-and-white lines of parking spaces. And Brinson pushes the boundaries of the exhibition’s theme: Her Tattooed Beauty 2, a painting of a bare-chested man covered in permanent body art, reminds us that the human body is still the most powerful communicator of all. The show is on view from noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday (10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 20), and 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, to Sunday, April 28, at ArtSpin Gallery, 5402 Queen’s Chapel Road, Hyattsville. Free. (301) 559-1477. (Sarah Godfrey)