There are works of art that we like immediately. And those we don’t. What of it?
What I’m thinking about is that immediate liking may be based on superficial characteristics, and so with immediate dislike. In the first case, again as I’m imaging things, there’s nothing beyond those superficial characteristics, the one’s that are pleasing. In the second case I’m imagining that those superficial characteristics, the ones provoking a negative reaction, are, well, superficial, and that there’s more going on. What’s the role of criticism in these cases?
In the first case, and to a first approximation, the criticism points out the superficiality of the work, whatever it and they may be. This may or may not be difficult to do, but given the attraction of the superficial work, it may be difficult to take. In the second case the role is to educate the reader, viewer, or listener (as the case may be), to bring them to change so that they not only understand, but they enjoy the more profound work. Such change takes work and work takes time; it is not accomplished in the mere reading of a critical essay.
Such time and effort should not be squandered. The burden of criticism is thus a heavy one. The criticism must be exact if it is to be profitably exacting.