For what's its worth, in my professional capacity I think and write about these kinds of questions and have a bunch of relevant journal articles/books on related subjects. I've sometimes thought about writing specifically on models and modelmaking, but I have enough on the go already.
There are several issues in your post. Are models art? Saying something is art doesn't make it so, and a superficial resemblance to art isn't sufficient either, because practices such as crafts and hobbies can share features with the art (artefact making, a concern with aesthetics, criticism) while lacking others (emotional or meaningful expression, intellectual challenge, formal complexity). I suspect that models could rise the status of art in some rare cases, but my models certainly don't!
Another issue is whether the modeler is "controlled by the perception of others?" "Controlled" is too strong, but there are certainly implicit norms, and they are the subject some of the intractable debates on this forum (e.g., what "needs" to be done to a kit).
One other thing is the relationship between realism, objectivity, science and judgment in modeling (i.e. the issue prompted by George's recent thread). There is a fallacy in art that scientific objectivity is a means of producing realism, or what people perceive as realism. Even in the linear perspective of the high renaissance, artists such as Raphael ignored the apparent laws of geometry because they resulted in images that appeared unrealistic. I think it is likely to be similar with models, and that realism is much more about convention than science.
Finally, as for whether humour belongs in the hobby, I'm not so sure judging by some of the humourless and grumpy old buggers on here.