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Source: Revised GRE PDF 2nd Ed. Section 4; #8 (p. 65)


The recent publication of the painter Robert Motherwell’s

The recent publication of the painter Robert Motherwell’s substantial body of writing, as well as writings by fellow Expressionist Barnett Newman, (i) ______ Ann Gibson’s assertion that the Abstract Expressionists were reluctant to (ii) _____ issues of artistic meaning in their work and suggests that this supposed reticence was perhaps more artistic (iii) ______ than historical fact. Blank (i): substantiates, undermines, overlooks Blank (ii): forgo, articulate, conceal Blank (iii): conscience, focus, posturing

2 Explanations


I think the reasoning of relating "reticence" to "substantial body of writing", and hence explaining the use of the word "undermine" in the fill in, on the basis of that is fallacious.

According to me, the correct word to infer the fill in from should be "supposed reticence". It means "generally assumed or believed to be reticent(as in by Ann Gibson), but not necessarily so". So overall it means that the recent publications by so and so artist undermines Ann Gibson's assertion and suggests that this "assumed or believed to be reticence but not necessarily so (says the painter and fellow expressionist)" was perhaps more artistic posturing than historical fact.

Nov 17, 2014 • Comment


Hi, I still dont understand why "focus" does not work in the last blank. Could you please explain ? thank you !

Aug 23, 2018 • Reply

David Recine

"Focus" doesn't work here, because we're looking for something that can be contrasted with "fact." (Something that is "more ... _______ than ... fact.") So we're looking for a word that describes something fake or unreal, the opposite of fact. "Focus" doesn't work for that, because "artistic focus" describes something that is real-- the demonstrated choice of artists to pay attention to/cultivate certain aspects of their work. (For example, if an artist paints a lot of landscapes, their artistic focus on landscapes is real and clearly evident.)

On the other hand, "posturing" means "pretending." So "artistic posturing" refers to artists pretending to be something they are not. This makes "posturing" the perfect opposite to "reality," and the only truly acceptable answer.

Aug 25, 2018 • Reply


Chris Lele

Sep 22, 2012 • Comment

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