Section Ⅱ Reading comprehension
Part A
Read the following four passages. Answer the questions below each passage by choosing A, B, C and D. Mark your answers on ANSWER SHEET 1. (40 points)


The longest bull run in a century of art-market history ended on a dramatic note with a sale of 56 works by Damien Hirst, Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, at Sotheby’s in London on September 15th 2008. All but two pieces sold, fetching more than £70m, a record for a sale by a single artist. It was a last victory. As the auctioneer called out bids, in New York one of the oldest banks on Wall Street, Lehman Brothers, filed for bankruptcy.

The world art market had already been losing momentum for a while after rising bewilderingly since 2003. At its peak in 2007 it was worth some $65 billion, reckons Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics, a research firm—double the figure five years earlier. Since then it may have come down to $50 billion. But the market generates interest far beyond its size because it brings together great wealth, enormous egos, greed, passion and controversy in a way matched by few other industries.

In the weeks and months that followed Mr. Hirst’s sale, spending of any sort became deeply unfashionable, especially in New York, where the bail-out of the banks coincided with the loss of thousands of jobs and the financial demise of many art-buying investors. In the art world that meant collectors stayed away from galleries and salerooms. Sales of contemporary art fell by two-thirds, and in the most overheated sector—for Chinese contemporary art—they were down by nearly 90% in the year to November 2008. Within weeks the world’s two biggest auction houses, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, had to pay out nearly $200m in guarantees to clients who had placed works for sale with them.

The current downturn in the art market is the worst since the Japanese stopped buying Impressionists at the end of 1989, a move that started the most serious contraction in the market since the second world war. This time experts reckon that prices are about 40% down on their peak on average, though some have been far more volatile. But Edward Dolman, Christie’s chief executive, says: “I’m pretty confident we’re at the bottom.”

What makes this slump different from the last, he says, is that there are still buyers in the market, whereas in the early 1990s, when interest rates were high, there was no demand even though many collectors wanted to sell. Christie’s revenues in the first half of 2009 were still higher than in the first half of 2006. Almost everyone who was interviewed for this special report said that the biggest problem at the moment is not a lack of demand but a lack of good work to sell. The three Ds—death, debt and divorce—still deliver works of art to the market. But anyone who does not have to sell is keeping away, waiting for confidence to return.

21. In the first paragraph, Damien Hirst's sale was referred to as “a last victory” because ______.
[A]. the art market had witnessed a succession of victories
[B]. the auctioneer finally got the two pieces at the highest bids
[C]. Beautiful Inside My Head Forever won over all masterpieces
[D]. it was successfully made just before the world financial crisis

22. By saying “spending of any sort became deeply unfashionable”(Line 1-2,Para.3),the author suggests that ______.
[A]  collectors were no longer actively involved in art-market auctions
[B]  people stopped every kind of spending and stayed away from galleries
[C]  art collection as a fashion had lost its appeal to a great extent
[D]  works of art in general had gone out of fashion so they were not worth buying

23. Which of the following statements is NOT true?
[A] Sales of contemporary art fell dramatically from 2007to 2008.
[B] The art market surpassed many other industries in momentum.
[C] The market generally went downward in various ways.
[D] Some art dealers were awaiting better chances to come.

24. The three Ds mentioned in the last paragraph are ______
[A] auction houses' favorites
[B] contemporary trends
[C] factors promoting artwork circulation
[D] styles representing impressionists

25.The most appropriate title for this text could be ______
[A] Fluctuation of Art Prices
[B] Up-to-date Art Auctions
[C] Art Market in Decline
[D] Shifted Interest in Arts


I was addressing a small gathering in a suburban Virginia living room -- a women's group that had invited men to join them. Throughout the evening one man had been particularly talkative frequently offering ideas and anecdotes while his wife sat silently beside him on the couch. Toward the end of the evening I commented that women frequently complain that their husbands don't talk to them. This man quickly concurred. He gestured toward his wife and said "She's the talker in our family." The room burst into laughter; the man looked puzzled and hurt. "It's true," he explained. "When I come home from work I have nothing to say. If she didn't  keep the conversation  going we'd spend the whole evening in silence."

This episode crystallizes the irony that although  American men tend to talk more than women in public situations they often talk less at home. And this pattern is wreaking havoc with marriage.

The pattern was observed by political scientist Andrew Hacker in the late '70s. Sociologist Catherine Kohler Riessman reports in her new book "Divorce Talk" that most of the women she interviewed -- but only a few of the men -- gave lack of communication as the reason for their divorces. Given the current divorce rate of nearly 50 percent ,that amounts to millions of cases in the United States every year  --a virtual epidemic of failed conversation.

In my own research complaints from women about their husbands most often focused not on tangible inequities such as having given up the chance for a career to accompany a husband to his or doing far more than their share of daily life-support work like cleaning cooking social arrangements and errands. Instead they focused on communication: "He doesn't listen to me" "He doesn't talk to me." I found as Hacker observed years before that most wives want their husbands to be first and foremost conversational partners but few husbands share this expectation of their wives.

In short, the image that best represents the current crisis is the stereotypical cartoon scene of a man sitting at the breakfast table with a newspaper held up in front of his face ,while a woman glares at the back of it, wanting to talk.

26. What is most wives' main expectation of their husbands?
[A] Talking to them.
[B] Trusting them.
[C].Supporting their careers.
[D]. Sharing housework.

27. Judging from the context ,the phrase “wreaking havoc”(Line 3,Para.2)most probably means ______.
[A] generating motivation.
[B].exerting influence
[C].causing damage
[D] creating pressure

28. All of the following are true EXCEPT ______
[A].men tend to talk more in public tan women
[B].nearly 50percent of recent divorces are caused by failed conversation
[C].women attach much importance to communication between couples
[D]a female tends to be more talkative at home than her spouse

29. Which of the following can best summarize the main idea of this text?
[A].The moral decaying deserves more research by sociologists.
[B].Marriage break-up stems from sex inequalities.
[C].Husband and wife have different expectations from their marriage.
[D].Conversational patterns between man and wife are different.

30. In the following part immediately after this text, the author will most probably focus on ______
[A].a vivid account of the new book Divorce Talk
[B].a detailed description of the stereotypical cartoon
[C].other possible reasons for a high divorce rate in the U.S.
[D] a brief introduction to the political scientist Andrew Hacker