In what ways does the Chicago World's Fair bring into focus the extreme contrasts of the Gilded Age?
The Chicago World's Fair (also known as the World Columbian Exposition) illustrated the potential of the Gilded Age, of American industry and technology and the benefits it could bring to society.
It changed the physical appearance of the city, with new architecture and major new construction to prepare for the fair, and highlighted such exhibits as a primitive movie projector, locomotive technology as well as the first neon sign and Ferris wheel.
The collection of such exhibits brought in 27 million visitors to the fair, and on the one hand highlighted the concentration of wealth and excess that defined the Gilded Age (and building the fair took an immense amount of cash for the time, mostly fronted by wealthy industrialists) and the poverty of the working class. This is why Chicago was an ironic selection, as it was a city defined by crooked politics, sweatshop conditions for workers, and the ridiculously rich.