You shouldn't have to "look further" into art. If you need to it fails at what it is. If you look further into it because it's interesting or enjoyable at the outset then yes that is understandable and the art has suceeded.
It's like when someone tries to explain a crap joke. The explanation doesn't make it a good joke.
Completely disagree again. If your only interest in art lies within an initial reaction, then you're completely ignoring a major element of its significance as a piece. If you put any European art film by Godard, Antonioni, or Bergman on the screen in front of most people, they'd complain that the films were too "pretentious" and "didn't have narrative". I know because I was one of these people.
Contextualizing and educating can enhance your appreciation for a piece of art and your own means of evaluating art. Film is more than just an aesthetic, that's why history and theory is taught in film school.
I don't find art pretentious. I find abstract art pretentious. Its not an insecurity, its that I happen to be a pretty talented artist ( drawing ) and when people try to tell me that abstract artist have talent I don't see it. It takes no talent to draw or paint the things that they do.
To me its equal to calling somebody that can dribble a basketball but not make a basket a good basketball player. Or somebody that can shadow box themselves in the mirror but gets KTFO in a fight a good fighter.
To me its all about the end product. If the end product sucks I don't care how much thought went into making it.
"Sucks" depends on your criteria for evaluating art. If you saw an abstract painting that you initially thought was "crap" and "talentless", then someone revealed to you that it was painted by a person with dementia how doesn't that change your perspective towards the art? You may not like it more, but you should certainly possess a new appreciation for it.
Yes, but you look further into political movies because you enjoy politics or the story it had. It was interesting to you to start with.
Not necessarily, Godard makes films politically, but he does not make political films. That's why his breed of cinema was so revolutionary in the 1960s and 70s, the level of allegory transcended traditional film form and helped lead an entire movement (the French New Wave) which was deemed "pretentious" by casual film-goers, instead of celebrated for their revolutionary qualities. This is why there's such a difference in the opinion of critics and regular fans of art.
You listen to an opera because you enjoy the sound initially, only after the initial interest will you look further into what they are meaning, the storyline, other works by the composer/singers/orchestra.
It sounds like what you're trying to apply is criteria for pop-art of Opera, which is categorized as high art. The problem with doing that, is that they both require completely different criteria for evaluating their formal qualities.
If the opera sounds awful. I doubt it would get the same involvement. Unless you are already invested into the artists and look into why it's so different to what you have come to expect.
Once again, "awful" is based-on your own personal criteria and comprehension of conventions in which the art is evaluated. Someone who may not like a piece, may not be able to pin-point the intricacies of its composition and that can influence their appreciation of it entirely.
Art has a lot to say, but there's a lot that it omits as well, and those omissions are filled through education.
There was already something to get you interested and so it suceeded. If you need to dig to actually get that first interest it has failed. Every piece of art whether it be music, dance, painting, sculpture, literature whatever have you needs that first spark to get someone interested. The spark may differ for some people, obviously, but it needs to be there in some form.
I agree that there's an initial interest, but interest does not necessarily equate to a "like". I've watched so many films that I initially found "interesting", but I did not particularly like them. It's through contextualization that my appreciation for these pieces changed. Some of the first films I watched and hated have become some of my absolute favourites because of my advanced understanding of film theory.
I think part of my annoyance with the word pretentious (and its variations) is its frequent misuse, so I think it's important to actually define it for some people:
pretentiousness - the quality of being pretentious (behaving or speaking in such a manner as to create a false appearance of great importance or worth)
The idea that something is creating the illusion/"falseness" of value it doesn't possess is just a narrow-minded way of assessing it. How do you know it's importance is of lesser value if you don't understand all elements of its construction (historical, theoretical, socio-cultural, AND aesthetic)? It just seems like people throw this word as a knee jerk reaction to things they may not entirely care to completely understand, that doesn't make the work "pretentious" though.