Sweet Series

A Brief History of Sugar: White Gold, the Enslaved, and building a New World

Decolonizing the historical origin of sugar and pastry up to the 19th century, participants will learn how a grass from Papua New Guinea circled the world and changed the course of human civilization. Led by Edward Cabral–multimedia sculptor, chef, and lecturer–this event will explore the links between the Crusades, the enslaved from West Africa, American Exceptionalism, Marie Antoinette, and Industrialization, which lead to modern notions of pastry and the world at large. At the end of the event, participants will enjoy a grand banquet dessert based on historical examples from 17th century Europe, but through a decolonial and indigenous lens.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Clamor of Ornament, A Brief History of Sugar is part of a three-part series of public programs that draws inspiration from the works on view and explores one of the most contemporary expressions of ornament–patisserie–through the context of design and history.


    This program is made possible by Hilary and Peter Hatch.

    Major support for The Clamor of Ornament is provided by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., the Director's Circle of The Drawing Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Generous funding is provided by Dita Amory, Michèle Gerber Klein, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Sara Story Design, Josh Smith, and Barbara Toll. Additional support is provided by Amy Gold and Brett Gorvy, Isabel Stainow Wilcox, Phyllis Tuchman, Paul Morelli, the Roy and Niuta Titus Foundation, Suzanne Slesin and Michael Steinberg, Adelphi Paper Hangings, LLC, Plain English Design, and Madeline Weinrib. Support for the exhibition catalog is provided by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.