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Interview: Martin Biallas Bringing MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL To The World

MICHELANGELO’S SISTINE CHAPEL: THE EXHIBITION has reached Los Angeles for the first time

Interview: Martin Biallas Bringing MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL To The World

MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL: THE EXHIBITION featuring full-sized replicas of Michelangelo's timeless frescos from the Vatican's Sistine Chapel has reached Los Angeles for the first time. Audiences can view Michelangelo's masterpieces up close, closer than in the actual Sistine Chapel. Had the chance to chat with Martin Biallas, SEE Attractions' CEO and producer of THE EXHIBITION, on some behind-the-scenes details of putting THE EXHIBITION together.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Martin!

What was the initial inspiration for MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL: THE EXHIBITION? Did you actually visit the Vatican recently?

I visited the Vatican back in 2014. Like everyone who visits this iconic site, I was deeply moved by the art. BUT, I was not impressed with the visitor experience. It took a long time before I got Interview: Martin Biallas Bringing MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL To The World to the chapel, and when we were inside it was overcrowded and noisy. It felt like we only had a few minutes inside before we were rushed out. And I thought to myself, there's got to be a better way to experience and appreciate one of mankind's greatest artistic experiences.

How long did it take for your prep this tour?

We developed the concept for a year before launching the exhibit. It has continued to evolve Interview: Martin Biallas Bringing MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL To The World over the years as we get feedback from visitors and venues.

How many pieces of Sistine Chapel artwork will exhibition audience see?

We feature 33 life-size photographic reproductions of the ceiling frescoes as well as "The Last Judgement."

You started touring this exhibit in 2016 at the Woman's Museum in Dallas. Any response at that exhibit surprise you?

We actually premiered the exhibit in Montreal at the Palais de Congress in 2015, but the Dallas stop was the U.S. premiere. We have since taken the exhibit all over the U.S., China, Europe, and South America. What I enjoy most is seeing the reactions of visitors when they first realize how large these pieces are. Books don't do it justice, and even if it is the actual chapel, the artwork is 60 feet Interview: Martin Biallas Bringing MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL To The World above you. At our exhibits, you can get within a few feet from the art and really immerse yourself in the details AND at your own pace. I also enjoy hearing that visitors who have never been to the Vatican are now inspired to go when the world gets a little bit less crazy.

Your touring exhibition encompasses 31 cities all over the globe. What specs do you look for in a venue to stage this exhibit?

We pride ourselves on being modular in order to visit as many different types of venues as possible. But I always love it when a venue contributes its own unique charm to the exhibit. And of course, access to parking or public transportation always helps!

I see that you have the same opening date of October 2021 for your Brisbane, Australia and London exhibitions, and September for San Francisco and New York. How many Interview: Martin Biallas Bringing MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL To The World sets of the stretched canvases and panels of Sistine Chapel artwork do you have to travel with?

We currently have five units touring the U.S. alone! We have another dedicated for Asia, one for Australia, and we are producing more units for Europe and Latin America.

How big is the biggest single piece of artwork? And what does it depict?

"The Last Judgment" is almost 40 feet tall, so when space allows, we display it at that size. Now many spaces don't have 40-foot ceilings, so we usually make a custom print, but even at half the size of real life, it is a spectacular depiction of souls being sorted into heaven and hell. And if you look closely, you can even see Michelangelo himself in the crowd along with a few other "Easter eggs" if you will.

How many options of space did you have to choose from for the Los Angeles exhibit before deciding on 333 So. La Cienega Blvd.?

Interview: Martin Biallas Bringing MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL To The World We looked at a few before settling on the current site due to its central location within L.A.

You're already produced touring exhibitions of Frida Kahlo and King Tutankhamen. Do you already have an idea for your next touring exhibit?

We are always developing new ideas. The pandemic put things on a bit of a holding pattern, but the appetite for exhibitions is bigger than ever, so you will hear about some of our other projects very soon.

In Bi-Continental Management, the management company you founded with Michael Lang, the "Father of Woodstock" in 1981, you managed acts as diverse as The Beijing Opera, the Bolshoi Ballet, Tina Turner, Liza Minnelli, and Johnny Cash, just to name a few. What's your secret in handling this wide variety of artists?

It was a combination of being young, innovative, and not part of the industry establishment at Interview: Martin Biallas Bringing MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL To The World the time. I think that allowed me to relate to a lot of different crowds.

How many languages do you speak, by the way?

German and English.

Which of your Special Entertainment Events (SEE) projects are you most proud of?

STAR TREK since it was the first project that we hit out of the park, and MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL because it's a timeless idea that I think can tour for the foreseeable future.

Interview: Martin Biallas Bringing MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL To The World What is your biggest get in licensing that you're still working for?

Well, if I told you, someone might beat me to the punch, so just keep checking back on us!

What's in the near future for Martin Biallas? A vacation possibly?

Finally being able to visit my niece in Australia and to maybe get in a few days of vacation, whenever COVID finally allows this to happen.

Thank you again, Martin! I look for to seeing your MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL: THE EXHIBITION.

For timed tickets for MICHELANGELO'S SISTINE CHAPEL: THE EXHIBITION through October 17, 2021: log onto www.sistinechapelexhibit.com/los-angeles



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