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#3 - Must Be True, Purpose

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Complete Question Explanation
(See the complete passage discussion here: viewtopic.php?t=13357)

The correct answer choice is (D)

This question asks why the author mentions the collage artist in the second paragraph. This was presented as an example of an African American artist whose work was the sort of literal representation that Gilliam found too straightforward; Gilliam was searching for a more artistic expressive form.

Answer choice (A): The collage does not exemplify the style of the Washington Color school, so this cannot be the reason that the author mentions it.

Answer choice (B): The collage mentioned does not underscore the cause of the animosity between various schools of artists, but is instead provided as an example of the work that Gilliam found too literal.

Answer choice (C): The author does mention that art such as the referenced collage was popular with the public, but this example was not presented to establish this fact—it was presented to exemplify the sort of work that Gilliam was reacting to in creating his works.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. As discussed above, the collage mentioned by the author was presented to exemplify the type of art that was too literal, too straightforward, to evoke the complexity of human experience.

Answer choice (E): This is an Opposite Answer of sorts; most of the other African American artists of the time were interested in political themes, but Gilliam’s perspective, rare among African American artists of the time, was that he needed to find an artistic form that could better express the complex human experience than the literal art popular at the time.
T.B.Justin
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Hey,

I want to add my opinion to the conversation of incorrect answer choice (C):

While I agree the mention of collage and the example that followed is, more or less, not establishing that it was more popular with the general public than abstract art was, however, subsequent to this example, in line 27-28, "Though such art was quite popular with the general public.."

I don't think "quite" implies "more," if the test makers chose to use "more" in place of "quite," would answer choice (C) be acceptable, I am not sure, but I am leaning, yes, thoughts?

Thank you, I appreciate your time.
Jay Donnell
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Hey T.B.!

I think you'd best be wary of equating 'quite' and 'more', with the latter of which being a comparative or relative claim, and the former more of an adverb that describes an item without regard to competitive measurements.

Especially on the LSAT, words that convey comparisons (especially unfounded one!) can be very dangerous. These words can come in sneakily as well, for example in saying something is 'the best way' to do a particular thing implies that it is better than all other ways, so in a sense is innately comparative.

Quite is more apt to be seen as very , in that if I say that painting is very appealing to me, that doesn't imply that other paintings are necessarily more or less appealing.

In the context of this passage, we have to be also quite ( ;) ) wary of the overall comparison between the popularity of representational and abstract art forms. We don't have any way of telling which art form was MORE appealing to the general public, and even though the work of Gilliam's contemporary (who I think may be Romare Bearden, who interestingly enough has his own LSAT RC passage from October 2001) was appealing to the general public, abstract art as a whole could easily be more appealing in general, we really have no way of proving that.


One more tip to hopefully help you in future passages/questions of this nature. The LSAT loves a rebel, artistically. It's extremely common that the artist (painter, musician, writer, etc) highlighted in the passage is chosen and celebrated for their tendency to 'think outside the box' (despite how much I despise that trite phrase). Whether it be evolving or breaking conventions of the art form itself or of limitations placed culturally or socioeconomically, the protagonists of these passages are trailblazers, and very often (exactly like this passage) other artists are mentioned as showing the norms that our artist is leaving behind.


Hope that helps!