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‘Check’ please! This show serves your hunger for food and art

The Brooklyn Paper

These artists aren’t just serving you bacon — they’re bringing it home.

Eleven painters, photographers and fine artists — who work at bars and restaurants along Smith Street in Cobble Hill — are giving neighborhood residents a taste of what they do when they’re not slinging Bloody Marys and Eggs Benedict in the group exhibition, “Guest Check,” at the Urban Folk Art Gallery.

“This show gives people in the neighborhood who know us as bartenders and waiters a glimpse of what we do behind the scenes,” said photographer and Bar Tabac bartender Tamahl Rahaman, who has five portraits hanging in the show. “Restaurant workers are some of the most talented people I know.”

“Guest Check” pieces are thematically and stylistically diverse — one artist chose four photographs of iconic neighborhood landmarks including the Smith Street subway station mosaic and a shot of the Brooklyn Bridge, to represent his body of work; another, Magdalena Marcenaro, selected two large street art-style paintings and four brightly colored collages from her collection to display.

Curated by Adam Suerte, tattoo artist and co-owner of Brooklyn Tattoo and the Urban Folk Art Gallery, “Guest Check” serves as a platform to showcase the unsung talents belonging to some of the most familiar characters in the neighborhood. As an added bonus, “Guest Check” provides the participating artists — who are more familiar with each other’s special sauce and signature cocktail than experimental photo series — with a chance to check out one another’s chops.

“I only ever see a blurry picture of a painting or a photograph on a cell phone at the bar while we’re closing up,” Marcenaro said.

Cobble Hill resident and self-proclaimed barfly Paul Hale, who wandered into the gallery on a lark, was so impressed that he purchased a piece — the Smith Street subway station photograph — right off the wall.

“Normally, these guys are slogging beers at me, but you know there’s so much more that they do,” Hale said. “This show is kind of like when you’re a kid and you see your principal at the mall — it’s what’s happening behind-behind-the-bar.”

Guest Check art show at the Urban Folk Art Gallery [101 Smith St. between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 643-1610], through Oct. 24. For info, visit

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Reader Feedback

UFA©Gallery from South Brooklyn says:
The closing/ artist reception will be at UFA©Gallery Monday Oct 24th at 7pm. Come on out and meet the artists. Thanks Juliet for the great coverage!
Oct. 18, 2011, 6:36 pm
Magdalena Marcenaro from Carroll Gardens says:
Correction, my last name and artist in the show is Marcenaro, not Marceno. Thanks!
Oct. 19, 2011, 9:49 am

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