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Source: Revised GRE PDF 2nd Ed. Section 3; #4 (p. 52)


The unironic representation of objects from everyday life

The unironic representation of objects from everyday life is (i) ________ serious American art of the twentieth century: “high” artists ceded the straightforward depiction of the (ii) ________ to illustrators, advertisers, and packaging designers. Blank (i): missing from, valued in, crucial to Blank (ii): beautiful, commonplace, complex

7 Explanations


thanh nguyen

why the high is in quote : "high" art?

Jun 30, 2019 • Comment


Hey Thanh!
The quotation marks show that the artists think of themselves as high, but the author does not quite agree. The meaning is that these are so-called high artists, or artists who think they are high, but actually might not be. So the quotation marks show that it's the artists who are calling themselves high, and not anyone else.

Jul 8, 2019 • Reply


Wenjie Zeng

Below is my understanding: serious art does not use irony, and it depicts things in a truthful straightforward way. However, now the so-called "high artists" (serious artists) gave up the truthful and straightforward way of expression.

Jun 30, 2018 • Comment

Sam Kinsman

Hi Wenjie,

Keep in mind that "unironic" means "not ironic." So the first part of the sentence says that straightforward (i.e. unironic) representation of objects is ______ in serious American art. If we don't know that goes in the blank, we don't know yet what the sentence is saying. However, "missing from" goes in the blank, so the sentence is saying that there is no straightforward depiction of things in American art.

You are right about the second part of the sentence - it says that serious artists have given up straightforward depiction of objects.

I hope that helps!

Jul 4, 2018 • Reply



unironic means?

Feb 1, 2017 • Comment


Hi! "Unironic" means "not ironic." I'd recommend looking up words you're unsure about on

Feb 1, 2017 • Reply


Louie Patrick Rosales

hint for the answer of the second blank is everyday life, while ceded should signify a negative tone in the fist blank, A works well.

Dec 21, 2015 • Comment


Good thinking, Louie! However, allow me to qualify your statement that "ceded should signify a negative tone in the fist blank."

We're not quite looking for a "negative" word in the blank. Rather, we should see that there is a contrast between the way in which "high" artists depicted everyday life and the way in which "illustrators, advertisers, and packaging designers" did so.

We know that the latter did so in a "straightforward way," and that "high" artists ceded this manner of depiction to them. Therefore, "high artists" did *not* depict everyday life in a straightforward way, which means they did *not* do so "unironically." This leads us to "missing from."

Dec 22, 2015 • Reply


Shudong Wang

Thanks.I understand the function of the colon now.

Oct 29, 2014 • Comment


Robert Paul

Reading it, I thought the people who did "serious american art" were NOT the same people as the "high" artists, therefore I picked (b) "valued in". Thanks for your explanation. Perhaps the colon signifies a continuance of the same thought, I was reading it as opposing thoughts.

Sep 17, 2014 • Comment

Ashwin Palaniappan

I did the same mistake ;)

Mar 3, 2017 • Reply


Chris Lele

Sep 20, 2012 • Comment

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