“La Marseillaise,” France’s national anthem, rang out somberly underneath the Washington Square Arch. A musician punched his accordion’s keys to the tune. A mini-Eiffel Tower sat perched on top of an older man’s hat, its tip festooned with a tiny American flag. One woman pushed a baby carriage with a French flag draped over it. Sobs pierced the brisk air. Whispers of “excuse-moi,” and “pardon” emanated from all directions.
Olga Ayala’s mother was once caught trying to raid a neighbor’s coconut patch as a child in her native Puerto Rico. After being discovered, the homeowner threatened her with the supernatural — a folkloric demon well known to many in Puerto Rico as a vejigante.
Maria Hupfield silently drapes a gray cloth with vibrant streamers over the top of a grand piano at Wilmer Jennings Gallery on the Lower East Side. About 50 people crowd around the Brooklyn-based performance artist. She folds the cloth several times, letting it dangle from the bench in front of her.