Glad to hear you writing the last bit! It is quite satisfying to make up my own mind of where Art begins - whoever came up with the 'eye of the beholder' thing gave the perfect excuse (not sure that was the point, but... what isn't interpretation good for?) , but art - like wine - doesn't feel entirely right drunk alone (for clarity: the analogy is meant between excess of both - drastic hangover versus un-communicable aesthetic infatuation
Sharing in bonsai appreciation poses a problem: it takes growing some rather demanding greenery to get to talk about it... Perhaps this doesn't sounds too relevant written here, but think how odd this might sound for painting, sculpture, architecture, fashion, literature, most sciences... It is way more common to have 'art' (or science) made by a few, bought, sold or otherwise used by somewhat more, read proficiently by a slightly larger lot still, and appreciated by a great many with virtually no tangible engagement but opinion. Bonsai appears to have entry tickets growing in pots, so to speak (exaggerating, but by how much?), and I'd bet this makes a whole lot of difference to where 'art' begins among western bonsai too...
I looked up the pine tree you mention, and, I would say that remembering my first impression of it from reading the forum a while back might make the point here too: the thing feels striking among trees potted or not, as blank verse is among both prose and pentameters! Would have rather used an analogy with an art that does have as wide a public (counting everyone who knows what 'poetry is, who made or make it, how, where and by whom it is actively enjoyed, rather then just the letter bunch) AND a strong connection with the art of bonsai already... but... I am simply not familiar enough with any Asian arts to appreciate their relation with critique and readership, that seems to be at stake here. And, as said above, the connection between western art and bonsai seems fantastic ground for speculation, although rather barren of reference.
'Enough is enough (jotting down opinion in public is one irresistible indulgence), I guess...
Your article and our talk also made me notice another (thanks to the other recent AoB front page bit), http://www.bonsaipots.net/index.php?page=art-and-kimura
and read twice through this bit http://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/ ... mpics.html
[citing with apologies for insistent reading ... are blogs supposed to be cite-able?]