LOS ANGELES -- The Campbell's Soup Cans will be there. So will Marilyn, Jackie, Chairman Mao and the famous self-portraits.

They are among the 260 paintings, sketches and sculptures by Andy Warhol to be shown at an exhibit of the pop artist's works, opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) here May 25.

The local tourism industry is expecting thousands of art lovers to fly into Los Angeles for the event, which is being proclaimed the biggest exhibit of Warhol ever mounted.

Ten hotels in Los Angeles joined with the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau and American Express to promote hotel packages in conjunction with the show, which will run through Aug. 18.

The bureau is expecting to meet or exceed the success it had in marketing the van Gogh exhibit at MOCA three years ago through American Express, a partnership which was "extraordinarily successful," said Robert Barrett, the bureau's vice president of domestic marketing.

That promotion generated nearly 13,000 room nights at the 10 participating hotels.

The Warhol promotion works the same way: American Express cardholders who book a room with one of the participating hotels will receive VIP tickets to the exhibit, giving them front-of-the-line admission and an exhibition catalog when they check into the hotel.

Travel agents can earn commission on the hotel packages, which are being promoted in major consumer magazines and in an eight-page brochure mailed to 120,000 American Express cardholders in key feeder markets to Los Angeles.

The following hotels are participating:
• The Fairmont Miramar
• The Figueroa Hotel
• The New Otani Hotel & Garden
• The Omni Los Angeles Hotel
• The Regent Beverly Wilshire
• The Renaissance Hotel Los Angeles Airport
• The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel
• The Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel
• The Westin Bonaventure
• The Wilshire Grand Hotel

Los Angeles is the only North American venue for the Warhol exhibition.

Although associated with New York, Warhol had strong ties to Los Angeles, said Jeremy Strick, MOCA director.

His first solo exhibition -- of the Campbell's Soup Cans paintings -- was shown in Los Angeles in 1962. In 1970, the Pasadena Art Museum held the first U.S. retrospective of the artist's works.

Information on the hotel packages is available at www.visitlanow.com, and bookings can be made directly with the individual hotels.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI