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The question as to what constitutes art is hardly a (i) one.

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The question as to what constitutes art is hardly a (i) one. [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2019, 23:12
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The question as to what constitutes art is hardly a (i) ______ one. Today, artists exist whose main goal seems only to subvert work that no longer warrants the trite tag "cutting-edge." Once the proverbial envelope is pushed even further, the public inevitably scratches its collective head—or furrows the collective brow—thinking that this time the "artists" have (ii) ______. That very same admixture of contempt and confusion, however, was not unknown in Michelangelo's day; only what was considered blasphemous, art-wise, in the sixteenth century, would today be considered (iii) ______ .


Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii)
perennial served their purpose hackneyed
contemporary gone too far reverent
controversial failed to provoke tame
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: The question as to what constitutes art is hardly a (i) one. [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2019, 03:05
Why B, E & I
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Re: The question as to what constitutes art is hardly a (i) one. [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2019, 09:28
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Looking at the first sentence: "The question as to what constitutes art is hardly a (i) ______ one. " The text will then continue to tell us about this issue of what constitutes art. The word "hardly" here functions as a negation, like "not." So, if this question was not a perennial one, then it wouldn't be relevant today. But then why would we be talking about it? We also know it was relevant in Michelangelo's day, so this issue is perennial. Similarly, if it wasn't controversial, then we probably wouldn't be devoting a passage to it on the GRE. Logically, what constitutes art is definitely controversial, and not entirely objective.

But "contemporary" fits best here, because we're saying that people have always thought about this issue, even in Michelangelo's day. His day was not so different from our own. The same issues we have today they had then.

For the second blank, we're told that artists are pushing the envelope very far. Their creations are weird, and don't resonate with the public, which just scratches its head or furrows its brow. It seems as if the artists have pushed too far here. If the public thought that the artists had served their purpose or failed to provoke, then they wouldn't be scratching their head or furrowing their brow.

The third blank contains a contrast between Michelangelo's day and our own. What was blasphemous in his day is "not-blasphemous" in ours. While "reverent" does contrast with blasphemous in a religious sense, we aren't discussing religion here, and reverence is not part of the passage.

"Tame" fits best, meaning that whatever was progressive, cutting-edge, or really out there in the 16th century isn't that radical today. As society has progressed, it's art has also evolved.

While "hackneyed" seems to have a similar meaning, it carries more negative connotations that we don't want here. Art can be tame and yet beautiful, but to call something hackneyed would be to insult it.
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Re: The question as to what constitutes art is hardly a (i) one. [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2019, 09:31
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Awesome explanation.

Thank you.

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Re: The question as to what constitutes art is hardly a (i) one.   [#permalink] 21 Mar 2019, 09:31
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The question as to what constitutes art is hardly a (i) one.

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