Reading Comprehension Questions for TISSNET PDF
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A remarkable aspect of art of the present century is the range of concepts and ideologies which it embodies. It is almost tempting to see a pattern emerging within the art field – or alternatively imposed upon it a posteriori – similar to that which exists under the umbrella of science where the general term covers a whole range of separate, though interconnecting, activities. Any parallelism is however – in this instance at least – misleading. A scientific discipline develops systematically once its bare tenets have been established, named and categorized as conventions. Many of the concepts of modern art, by contrast, have resulted from the almost accidental meetings of groups of talented individuals at certain times and certain places. The ideas generated by these chance meetings had twofold consequences. Firstly, a corpus of work would be produced which, in great part, remains as a concrete record of the events. Secondly, the ideas would themselves be disseminated through many different channels of communication – seeds that often bore fruit in contexts far removed from their generation. Not all movements were exclusively concerned with innovation. Surrealism, for instance, claimed to embody a kind of insight which can be present in the art of any period. This claim has been generally accepted so that a sixteenth century painting by Spranger or a mysterious photograph by Atget can legitimately be discussed in surrealist terms. Briefly, then, the concepts of modern art are of many different (often fundamentally different) kinds and resulted from the exposures of painters, sculptors and thinkers to the more complex phenomena of the twentieth century, including our ever increasing knowledge of the thought and products of earlier centuries. Different groups of artists would collaborate in trying to make sense of a rapidly changing world of visual and spiritual experience. We should hardly be surprised if no one group succeeded completely, but achievements, though relative, have been considerable. Landmarks have been established – concrete statements of position which give a pattern to a situation which could easily have degenerated into total chaos. Beyond this, new language tools have been created for those who follow – semantic systems which can provide a springboard for further explorations.
The codifying of art is often criticized. Certainly one can understand that artists are wary of being pigeonholed since they are apt to think of themselves as individuals – sometimes with good reason. The notion of self-expression, however, no longer carries quite the weight it once did; objectivity has its defenders. There is good reason to accept the ideas codified by artists and critics, over the past sixty years or so, as having attained the status of independent existence – an independence which is not without its own value. The time factor is important here. As an art movement slips into temporal perspective, it ceases to be a living organism – becoming, rather, a fossil. This is not to say that it becomes useless or uninteresting. Just as a scientist can reconstruct the life of a prehistoric environment from the messages codified into the structure of a fossil, so can an artist decipher whole webs of intellectual and creative possibility from the recorded structure of a ‘dead’ art movement. The artist can match the creative patterns crystallized into this structure against the potentials and possibilities of his own time. As T.S. Eliot observed, no one starts anything from scratch; however consciously you may try to live in the present, you are still involved with a nexus of behaviour patterns bequeathed from the past. The original and creative person is not someone who ignores these patterns, but someone who is able to translate and develop them so that they conform more exactly to his – and our – present needs.
Question 1: Many of the concepts of modern art have been the product of
a) ideas generated from planned deliberations between artists, painters and thinkers.
b) the dissemination of ideas through the state and its organizations.
c) accidental interactions among people blessed with creative muse.
d) patronage by the rich and powerful that supported art.
e) systematic investigation, codification and conventions.
Question 2: In the passage, the word ‘fossil’ can be interpreted as
a) an art movement that has ceased to remain interesting or useful.
b) an analogy from the physical world to indicate a historic art movement.
c) an analogy from the physical world to indicate the barrenness of artistic creations in the past.
d) an embedded codification of pre-historic life.
e) an analogy from the physical world to indicate the passing of an era associated with an art movement.
Question 3: In the passage, which of the following similarities between science and art may lead to erroneous conclusions?
a) Both, in general, include a gamut of distinct but interconnecting activities.
b) Both have movements not necessarily concerned with innovation.
c) Both depend on collaborations between talented individuals.
d) Both involve abstract thought and dissemination of ideas.
e) Both reflect complex priorities of the modern world.
Question 4: The range of concepts and ideologies embodied in the art of the twentieth century is explained by
a) the existence of movements such as surrealism.
b) landmarks which give a pattern to the art history of the twentieth century.
c) new language tools which can be used for further explorations into new areas.
d) the fast changing world of perceptual and transcendental understanding.
e) the quick exchange of ideas and concepts enabled by efficient technology.
Question 5: The passage uses an observation by T.S. Eliot to imply that
a) creative processes are not ‘original’ because they always borrow from the past.
b) we always carry forward the legacy of the past.
c) past behaviours and thought processes recreate themselves in the present and get labeled as ‘original’ or ‘creative’.
d) ‘originality’ can only thrive in a ‘greenhouse’ insulated from the past biases.
e) ‘innovations’ and ‘original thinking’ interpret and develop on past thoughts to suit contemporary needs.
The painter is now free to paint anything he chooses. There are scarcely any forbidden subjects, and today everybody is prepared o admit that a painting of some fruit can be as important as painting of a hero dying. The Impressionists did as much as anybody to win this previously unheard of freedom for the artist. Yet, by the next generation, painters began to abandon tie subject altogether, and began to paint abstract pictures. Today the majority of pictures painted are abstract.
Is there a connection between these two developments? Has art gone abstract because the artist is embarrassed by his freedom? Is it that, because he is free to paint anything, he doesn’t know what to paint? Apologists for abstract art often talk of it as Inc art of maximum freedom. But could this be the freedom of the desert island? It would take too long to answer these questions properly. I believe there is a connection. Many things have encouraged the development of abstract art. Among them has been the artists’ wish to avoid the difficulties of finding subjects when all subjects are equally possible.
I raise the matter now because I want to draw attention to the fact that the painter’s choice of a subject is a far more complicated question than it would at first seem. A subject does not start with what is put in front of the easel or with something which the painter happens to remember. A subject starts with the painter deciding he would like to paint such-and-such because for some reason or other he finds it meaningful. A subject begins when the artist selects something for special mention. (What makes it special or meaningful may seem to the artist to be purely visual — its colours or its form.) When the subject has been selected, the function of the painting itself is to communicate and justify the significance of that selection.
It is often said today that subject matter is unimportant. But this is only a reaction against the excessively literary and moralistic interpretation of subject matter in the nineteenth century. In truth the subject is literally the beginning and end of a painting. The painting begins with a selection (I will paint this and not everything else in the world); it is finished when that selection is justified (now you can see all that I saw and felt in this and how it is more than merely itself).
Thus, for a painting to succeed it is essential that the painter and his public agree about what is significant. The subject may have a personal meaning for the painter or individual spectator; but there must also be the possibility of their agreement on its general meaning. It is at this point that the culture of the society and period in question precedes the artist and his art. Renaissance art would have meant nothing to the Aztecs — and vice versa. If, to some extent, a few intellectuals can appreciate them both today it is because their culture is an historical one: its inspiration is history and therefore it can include within itself, in principle if not in every particular, all known developments to date.
When culture is secure and certain of its values, it presents its artists with subjects. The general agreement about what is significant is so well established that the significance of a particular subject accrues and becomes traditional. This is true, for instance, of reeds and water in China, of the nude body in Renaissance, of the animal in Africa. Furthermore in such cultures the artist is unlikely to be a free agent: he will be employed for the sake of particular subjects, and the problem, as we have just described it, will not occur to him.
When a culture is in a state of disintegration or transitions the freedom of the artist increases — but the question of subject matter becomes problematic for him: he, himself, has to choose for society. This was at the basis of all the increasing crises in European art during the nineteenth century. It is too often forgotten how any of the art scandals of that time were provoked by the choice of subject (Gericault, Courbet, Daumier, Degas, Lautrec, Van Gogh, etc.).
By the end of the nineteenth century there were, roughly speaking, two ways in which the painter could meet this challenge of deciding what to paint and so choosing for society. Either he identified himself with the people and so allowed their lives to dictate his subjects to him or he had to find his subjects within himself as painter. By people I mean everybody except the, bourgeoisie. Many painters did of course work for the bourgeoisie according to their copy-book of approved subjects, but all of them, filling the Salon and the Royal Academy year after year, are now forgotten, buried under the hypocrisy of those they served so sincerely.
Question 6: When a culture is insecure, the painter chooses his subject on the basis of:
a) The prevalent style in the society of his time.
b) Its meaningfulness to the painter.
c) What is put in front of the easel.
d) Past experience and memory of the painter
Question 7: In the sentence, “I believe there is a connection” (second paragraph), what two developments is the author referring to?
a) Painters using a dying hero and using a fruit as a subject of painting.
b) Growing success of painters and an increase in abstract forms.
c) Artists gaining freedom to choose subjects and abandoning subjects altogether.
d) Rise of Impressionists and an increase in abstract forms.
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Question 8: Which of the following is NOT necessarily among the attributes needed for a painter to succeed:
a) The painter and his public agree on what is significant.
b) The painting is able to communicate and justify the significance of its subject selection.
c) The subject has a personal meaning for the painter.
d) The painting of subjects is inspired by historical developments.
Question 9: In the context of the passage, which of the following statements would NOT be true?
a) Painters decided subjects based on what they remembered from their own lives.
b) Painters of reeds and water in China faced no serious problem of choosing a subject.
c) The choice of subject was a source of scandals in nineteenth century European art.
d) Agreement on the general meaning of a painting is influenced by culture and historical context.
Question 10: Which of the following views is taken by the author?
a) The more insecure a culture, the greater the freedom of the artist.
b) The more secure a culture, the greater the freedom of the artist.
c) The more secure a culture, more difficult the choice of subject.
d) The more insecure a culture, the less significant the choice of the subject.
My aim is to present a conception of justice which generalizes and carries to a higher level of abstraction the familiar theory of the social contract. In order to do this we are not to think of the original contract as one to enter a particular society or to set up a particular form of government. Rather, the idea is that the principles of justice for the basic structure of society are the object of the original agreement. They are the principles that free and rational persons concerned to further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality. These principles are to regulate all further agreements; they specify the kinds of social cooperation that can be entered into and the forms of government that can be established. This way of regarding the principles of justice, I shall call justice as fairness. Thus, we are to imagine that those who engage in social cooperation choose together, in one joint act, the principles which are to assign basic rights and duties and to determine the division of social benefits. Just as each person must decide by rational reflection what constitutes his good, that is, the system of ends which it is rational for him to pursue, so a group of persons must decide once and for all what is to count among them as just and unjust. The choice which rational men would make in this hypothetical situation of equal liberty determines the principles of justice.
In ‘justice as fairness’, the original position is not an actual historical state of affairs. It is understood as a purely hypothetical situation characterized so as to lead to a certain conception of justice. Among the essential features of this situation is that no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength, and the like. I shall even assume that the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their special psychological propensities. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. This ensures that no one is advantaged or disadvantaged in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural chance or the contingency of social circumstances. Since all are similarly situated and no one is able to design principles to favor his particular condition, the principles of justice are the result of a fair agreement or bargain.
Justice as fairness begins with one of the most general of all choices which persons might make together, namely, with the choice of the first principles of a conception of justice which is to regulate all subsequent criticism and reform of institutions. Then, having chosen a conception of justice, we can suppose that they are to choose a constitution and a legislature to enact laws, and so on, all in accordance with the principles of justice initially agreed upon. Our social situation is just if it is such that by this sequence of hypothetical agreements we would have contracted into the general system of rules which defines it. Moreover, assuming that the original position does determine a set of principles, it will then be true that whenever social institutions satisfy these principles, those engaged in them can say to one another that they are cooperating on terms to which they would agree if they were free and equal persons whose relations with respect to one another were fair. They could all view their arrangements as meeting the stipulations which they would acknowledge in an initial situation that embodies widely accepted and reasonable constraints on the choice of principles. The general recognition of this fact would provide the basis for a public acceptance of the corresponding principles of justice. No society can, of course, be a scheme of cooperation which men enter voluntarily in a literal sense; each person finds himself placed at birth in some particular position in some particular society, and the nature of this position materially affects his life prospects. Yet a society satisfying the principles of justice as fairness comes as close as a society can to being a voluntary scheme, for it meets the principles which free and equal persons would assent to under circumstances that are fair.
Question 11: A just society, as conceptualized in the passage, can be best described as:
a) A Utopia in which everyone is equal and no one enjoys any privilege based on their existing positions and powers. ‘
b) A hypothetical society in which people agree upon principles of justice which are fair.
c) A society in which principles of justice are not based on the existing positions and powers of the individuals.
d) A society in which principles of justice are fair to all.
e) A hypothetical society in which principles of justice are not based on the existing positions and powers of the individuals.
Question 12: The original agreement or original position in the passage has been used by the author as:
a) A hypothetical situation conceived to derive principles of justice which are not influenced by position, status and condition of individuals in the society.
b) A hypothetical situation in which every individual is equal and no individual enjoys any privilege based on the existing positions and powers. .
c) A hypothetical situation to ensure fairness of agreements among individuals in society.
d) An imagined situation in which principles of justice would have to be fair.
e) An imagined situation in which fairness is the objective of the principles of justice to ensure that no individual enjoys any privilege based on the existing positions and powers.
Question 13: Which of the following best illustrates the situation that is equivalent to choosing ‘the principles of justice’ behind a ‘veil of ignorance’?
a) The principles of justice are chosen by businessmen, who are marooned on an uninhabited island after a shipwreck, but have some possibility of returning.
b) The principles of justice are chosen by a group of school children whose capabilities are yet to develop.
c) The principles of justice are chosen by businessmen, who are marooned on an uninhabited island after a shipwreck and have no possibility of returning.
d) The principles of justice are chosen assuming that such principles will govern the lives of the rule makers only in their next birth if the rule makers agree that they will be born again.
e) The principles of justice are chosen by potential immigrants who are unaware of the resources necessary to succeed in a foreign country.
Question 14: Why, according to the passage, do principles of justice need to be based on an original agreement?
a) Social institutions and laws can be considered fair only if they conform to principles of justice.
b) Social institutions and laws can be fair only if they are consistent with the principles of justice as initially agreed upon.
c) Social institutions and laws need to be fair in order to be just.
d) Social institutions and laws evolve fairly only if they are consistent with the principles of justice as initially agreed upon.
e) Social institutions and laws conform to the principles of justice as initially agreed upon.
Question 15: Which of the following situations best represents the idea of justice as fairness, as argued in the passage?
a) All individuals are paid equally for the work they do.
b) Everyone is assigned some work for his or her livelihood.
c) All acts of theft are penalized equally.
d) All children are provided free education in similar schools.
e) All individuals are provided a fixed sum of money to take care of their health.
Answers & Solutions:
1) Answer (C)
Refer to the lines of the 1st para “Many of the concepts of modern art, by contrast, have resulted from the almost accidental meetings of groups of talented individuals at certain times and certain places. The ideas generated by these chance meetings had twofold consequences.”
This clearly illustrates the point 3.
2) Answer (E)
Refer to these lines “As an art movement slips into temporal perspective, it ceases to be a living organism – becoming, rather, a fossil. This is not to say that it becomes useless or uninteresting. Just as a scientist can reconstruct the life of a prehistoric environment from the messages codified into the structure of a fossil, so can an artist decipher whole webs of intellectual and creative possibility from the recorded structure of a ‘dead’ art movement.”
Through these lines, the author is explaining how codifying past art movements would not amount to demeaning their importance. It would just be a way of studying and better understanding the movement. Thus, by using the example of how scientists study fossils the author wants to make the larger point of how codification would help in better studying past art movements. Hence, the term “fossil” is used to indicate an art movement that is in the past.
Options A and C are opposite to what the author has said in the passage. Hence, we can eliminate them.
The term is not used only for “historic” art movements but any art movement that is in the past. Hence, we can eliminate option B.
Option D misses the comparison that is being made to art. Moreover, a fossil need not only be of pre-historic life. A fossil is any remnant of something that has died.
Option E correctly captures what the author is trying to denote through the use of the term.
3) Answer (A)
Refer to the line of the 1st para”It is almost tempting to see a pattern emerging within the art field – or alternatively imposed upon it a posteriori – similar to that which exists under the umbrella of science where the general term covers a whole range of separate, though interconnecting, activities.”
This implies option A
4) Answer (D)
Refer these line in the 1st para “Briefly, then, the concepts of modern art are of many different (often fundamentally different) kinds and resulted from the exposures of painters, sculptors and thinkers to the more complex phenomena of the twentieth century, including our ever increasing knowledge of the thought and products of earlier centuries. Different groups of artists would collaborate in trying to make sense of a rapidly changing world of visual and spiritual experience. We should hardly be surprised if no one group succeeded completely, but achievements, though relative, have been considerable”
Option D has a mention o the fast changing world.
5) Answer (E)
Refer to the lines,”As T.S. Eliot observed, no one starts anything from scratch; however consciously you may try to live in the present, you are still involved with a nexus of behaviour patterns bequeathed from the past. The original and creative person is not someone who ignores these patterns, but someone who is able to translate and develop them so that they conform more exactly to his – and our – present needs.”
It clearly states that inovations are developed on the past thoughts to suit the contemporary needs.
6) Answer (B)
Refer to the lines:”When a culture is in a state of disintegration or transitions the freedom of the artist increases — but the question of subject matter becomes problematic for him: he, himself, has to choose for society.” This implies option 2.
7) Answer (C)
In first para we find the 2nd last sentence as ‘… by the next generation, painters began to abandon tie subject altogether, and began to paint abstract pictures…’ Then second para is continued on connection between these 2 developments. Hence option C is the correct answer.
8) Answer (C)
Refer to the lines of the para:”The subject may have a personal meaning for the painter or individual spectator; but there must also be the possibility of their agreement on its general meaning. It is at this point that the culture of the society and period in question precedes the artist and his art.” This implies that the subject need not necessarily have a personal meaning for the painter.
9) Answer (A)
Refer to the lines of the third paragraph:”A subject does not start with what is put in front of the easel or with something which the painter happens to remember.”
10) Answer (A)
Refer to the following lines of the paragraph:”When a culture is in a state of disintegration or transitions the freedom of the artist increases — but the question of subject matter becomes problematic for him: he, himself, has to choose for society.”
11) Answer (C)
A just society is not a utopia according to the passage => option A is wrong.
The society mentioned in the passage is not hypothetical => options B and E are wrong.
Between option C and option D, option C fits better to be the answer because it is similar to the authors views in the passage whereas option D is too generalized.
Hence, C is the answer.
12) Answer (A)
It is clearly mentioned in the 2nd para of the passage that the original agreement is a hypothetical situation and is not influenced by position or status of the individual. Refer to the sentence “It is understood as a purely hypothetical situation………intelligence, strength and the like.”
13) Answer (D)
In this second paragraph, refer to the following lines:”This ensures that no one is advantaged or disadvantaged in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural chance or the contingency of social circumstances.” If the rule makers agree that they will be born again and these principals will govern in the next birth, then they are framing the laws in the veil of ignorance.
14) Answer (B)
Refer to the sentence “Our social situation is just…………general system of rules which define it.” Option B justifies this whereas other options deviate from this statement.
15) Answer (D)
The author says that the initial equality and the veil of ignorance are the most important.
Among the given options, only option D fits to be the answer because of the initail equality it poses.
Hence, option D is the answer.
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