GRE Preparation Kit 1 - Section 4 [20 -38]

Started by Samuel, Jan 08, 2008, 01:00 AM

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The earliest controversies about the relationship between photography and art centered on whether photography's fidelity to appearances and dependence on a machine allowed it to be a fine art as distinct from (5) merely a practical art. Throughout the nineteenth century, the defense of photography was identical with the struggle to establish it as a fine art. Against the charge that
photography was a soulless, mechanical copying of reality, photographers asserted that it was instead a privileged (10)way of seeing, a revolt against commonplace vision, and no less worthy an art than painting. Ironically, now that photography is securely established as a fine art, many photographers find it pretentious or irrelevant to label it as such. Serious photographers vari-
(15)ously claim to be finding, recording, impartially observing, witnessing events, exploring themselves— anything but making works of art. In the nineteenth century, photography's association with the real world placed it in an ambivalent relation to art; late in the twentieth
(20)century, an ambivalent relation exists because of the Modernist heritage in art. That important photographers are no longer willing to debate whether photography is or is not a fine art, except to proclaim that their own work is not involved with art, shows the extent to which (25)they simply take for granted the concept of art imposed by the triumph of Modernism: the better the art, the
more subversive it is of the traditional aims of art. Photographers' disclaimers of any interest in making art tell us more about the harried status of the contempo- (30)rary notion of art than about whether photography is or is not art. For example, those photographers who suppose that, by taking pictures, they are getting away from the pretensions of art as exemplified by painting remind us of those Abstract Expressionist painters who imagined (35)they were getting away from the intellectual austerity of classical Modernist painting by concentrating on the physical act of painting. Much of photography's prestige today derives from the convergence of its aims with those of recent art, particularly with the dismissal of abstract (40)art implicit in the phenomenon of Pop painting during the 1960's. Appreciating photographs is a relief to sensibilities tired of the mental exertions demanded by abstract art. Classical Modernist painting— that is, abstract art as developed in different ways by Picasso, (45)Kandinsky, and Matisse— presupposes highly developed skills of looking and a familiarity with other paintings and the history of art. Photography, like Pop painting,
reassures viewers that art is not hard; photography seems to be more about its subjects than about art. (50) Photography, however, has developed all the anxieties and self-consciousness of a classic Modernist art. Many professionals privately have begun to worry that the promotion of photography as an activity subversive of the traditional pretensions of art has gone so far that the (55)public will forget that photography is a distinctive and exalted activity— in short, an art.

21. In the passage, the author is primarily concerned with
     (A) defining the Modernist attitude toward art
     (B) explaining how photography emerged as a fine art after the controversies of the nineteenth
     (C) explaining the attitudes of serious contemporary photographers toward photography as art
           and placing those attitudes in their historical context
     (D) defining the various approaches that serious contemporary photographers take toward their
           art and assessing the value of each of those approaches
     (E) identifying the ways that recent movements in painting and sculpture have influenced the
           techniques employed by serious photographers

22. Which of the following adjectives best describes “the concept of art imposed by the triumph of
      Modernism” as the author represents it in lines25-27?
      (A) Objective
      (B) Mechanical
      (C) Superficial
      (D) Dramatic
      (E) Paradoxical

23. The author introduces Abstract Expressionist painters (lines 34) in order to
      (A) provide an example of artists who, like serious contemporary photographers, disavowed
            traditionally accepted aims of modern art
      (B) call attention to artists whose works often bear a physical resemblance to the works of       
            serious contemporary photographers
      (C) set forth an analogy between the Abstract Expressionist painters and classical Modernist
      (D) provide a contrast to Pop artists and others who created works that exemplify the Modernist
            heritage in art
      (E) provide an explanation of why serious photography, like other contemporary visual forms,
           is not and should not pretend to be an art

24. According to the author, the nineteenth--century defenders of photography mentioned in the 
      passage stressed that photography was
     (A) a means of making people familiar with remote locales and unfamiliar things
     (B) a technologically advanced activity
     (C) a device for observing the world impartially
     (D) an art comparable to painting
     (E) an art that would eventually replace the traditional arts

25. According to the passage, which of the following best explains the reaction of serious       
      contemporary photographers to the question of whether photography is an art?
      (A) The photographers' belief that their reliance on an impersonal machine to produce their art
            requires the surrender of the authority of their personal vision
      (B) The photographer s' fear that serious photography may not be accepted as an art by the 
            contemporary art public
      (C) The influence of Abstract Expressionist painting and Pop Art on the subject matter of the 
             modern photograph
      (D) The photographers' belief that the best art is subversive of art as it has previously been
      (E) The notorious difficulty of defining art in its relation to realistic representation

26. According to the passage, certain serious contemporary photographers expressly make which   
      of the following claims about their photographs?
     (A) Their photographs could be created by almost anyone who had a camera and the time to
           devote to the activity.
     (B) Their photographs are not examples of art but are examples of the photographers' impartial
           observation of the world.
     (C) Their photographs are important because of their subjects but not because of the responses
           they evoke in viewers.
     (D) Their photographs exhibit the same ageless principles of form and shading that have been
           used in painting.
     (E) Their photographs represent a conscious glorification of the mechanical aspects of 
           twentiethcentury life.

27. It can be inferred from the passage that the author most probably considers serious 
      contemporary photography to be a
     (A) contemporary art that is struggling to be accepted as fine art
     (B) craft requiring sensitivity but by no means an art
     (C) mechanical copying of reality
     (D) modern art that displays the Modernist tendency to try to subvert the prevailing aims of art
     (E) modern art that displays the tendency of all Modernist art to become increasingly formal
           and abstract

      (A) finality
      (B) innocence
      (C) liberality
      (D) unconcern
      (E) tolerance

      (A) opaque
      (B) colorless
      (C) lengthy
      (D) profound
      (E) diffuse

     (A) widely known
     (B) strongly motivated
     (C) discernible
     (D) uncommon
     (E) productive

     (A) communicate straightforwardly
     (B) articulate persuasively
     (C) instruct exhaustively
     (D) study painstakingly
     (E) reproach sternly

      (A) crowd out
      (B) skim over
      (C) change color
      (D) cover
      (E) sustain

      (A) deference
      (B) optimism
      (C) courage
      (D) superiority
      (E) goodwill

     (A) vulnerable to destruction
     (B) subject to illusion
     (C) worthy of consideration
     (D) capable of repetition
     (E) amenable to change

      (A) substantiate
      (B) transform
      (C) ameliorate
      (D) simplify
      (E) differentiate

      (A) thrust
      (B) reverse
      (C) curtail
      (D) disperse
      (E) forestall

     (A) unfasten
     (B) prolong
     (C) augment
     (D) extinguish
     (E) transmit

     (A) egotist
     (B) wrongdoer
     (C) freethinker
     (D) detractor
     (E) spendthrift
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