Gosh . . . I grow, display, and work on my bonsai in my front yard. Maybe I'm not allowed to respond to this thread.
Anyway, Andy said something about a bonsai not being an art untill it is displayed, and the pot, the stand, the companion plant, the background, etc. are all considered together (or words to that effect).
Using Walter's Mona Lisa analogy from another thread, if I took her out of her (rather ugly in my humble opinion) frame and propped her up on my dining room table, would she be any less "art?"
And, Lisa said: "Too often, the bonsai pot and the stand become a crutch for those who exhibit mediocre trees....." and I agree. Many of my trees fit here, I'm sure.
Andy and I have "discussed" bonsai-as-art elswhere and at other times, and I respect his opinion, but I still have to ask whether it matters to anyone but a few, somewhat insecure, talented bonsaiests. Twenty years ago, serious photographers were tearing their shirts over whether what they did was art. I don't really keep up on photographic stuff any more, but I seem to recall that after all the blood had been shed, the answer was "maybe," or "sometimes," or "it can be."
That, I think, is where we should leave the question "is bonsai art." No one cares but us -- and, occasionally, the casual viewer of an especially beautiful tree about which there is no question.