$20

Gilded Age New York: A Wealth Inequality Dinner

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Cabinet Magazine

300 Nevins Street

Brooklyn, NY 11217

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Dilettante Army invites New York society to dine in the style of the Gilded Age. The Gilded Age (1870-1910) was a time of staggering wealth inequality when vast fortunes were made in the industrialization and expansion of US territory. By the end of the Gilded Age, the top 1% of families owned about 40% of the wealth in the United States. Those families founded large cultural organizations during this era, including the still-influential Metropolitan Museum, through which private connoisseurship came to define the collections and aesthetics of the public good.

The cycle of wealth inequality began again in the late 20th century, and today the top 1% of families once again owns more than 40% of US wealth. In this new era of capital accumulation, the responsibility for our cultural welfare rests with a small number of wealthy collectors and museum trustees. What should we make of the re-emergence of a powerful “donor class”? Does the existence of a donor class make necessary the existence of an economically dependent “donee class”? What patterns of cultural production and consumption do oligarchic structures enable?

In the Gilded Age, the consumption of food and of culture ran on parallel tracks. Drawing on archival recipes, this dinner will recreate the food of Gilded Age New York in six courses; each dish will be accompanied by a brief talk about the economic and cultural role of that dish (plus a round of trivia!).

Dilettante Army’s editor-in-chief, Sara Clugage, will present along with guest speakers Sarah Lohman, Dania Rajendra, and Amy Schiller. Topics will include: Delmonico’s restaurant, the Metropolitan Museum’s Founding Purchase of 1871, the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, Chef Ranji Smile, the Hudson River School, and Jell-O.

Tickets to the dinner can be purchased on Eventbrite. Drinks will be provided. Diners with food restrictions are welcome; the menu has been designed to offer all participants enough to eat.

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How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please email sara@dilettantearmy.com with any questions.

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Cabinet Magazine

300 Nevins Street

Brooklyn, NY 11217

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