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Because the art world couldn't possibly be expected to dial things back two years in a row, Art Basel Miami Beach, which kicks off next week and runs through December 6, is expected to be bigger and better than ever!

Unlike last year when art scenesters could be seen moping around and complaining about sub-par sushi, "the period of noble abstinence for this hedonistic set is apparently over," reports Alexandra Peers in this week's New York. And while some of the official sponsors of the normally glitzy event have been trying to tone things down due to the ongoing recession, lots of unofficial parties have been planned, collectors are expected to arrive in droves, and hotels are commanding reasonably high rates again. Yes, the "art world is feeling flush again." Even if it's really just an illusion. And even if it the buzz has little to do with art:

Who's paying for all this? By and large, real-estate developers whose empty towers still ring the city like Stonehenge, hotels, banks, and corporations that are betting that, good or bad times, they'll rarely get access to a crowd this moneyed, relatively young, and globe-trotting.

Come for the art, pick up a condo that's been discounted by 90 percent, and everyone goes home happy!

Holiday in the Sun [NYM]