Item #2952 [Cover title (printed):] Le petit voyage LSD. [Pa]r Marc Albert-Levin. [In ink:] (recollection). / [In ink:] Le petit voyage illustre. Nov. dec. 1966. Larry Fink, Marc Albert-Levin.
[Cover title (printed):] Le petit voyage LSD. [Pa]r Marc Albert-Levin. [In ink:] (recollection). / [In ink:] Le petit voyage illustre. Nov. dec. 1966.
[Cover title (printed):] Le petit voyage LSD. [Pa]r Marc Albert-Levin. [In ink:] (recollection). / [In ink:] Le petit voyage illustre. Nov. dec. 1966.
[Cover title (printed):] Le petit voyage LSD. [Pa]r Marc Albert-Levin. [In ink:] (recollection). / [In ink:] Le petit voyage illustre. Nov. dec. 1966.
With Larry Fink’s Photos - A Book Dummy of a Psychedelic New York Trip in the 1960s

[Cover title (printed):] Le petit voyage LSD. [Pa]r Marc Albert-Levin. [In ink:] (recollection). / [In ink:] Le petit voyage illustre. Nov. dec. 1966.

1967. Original book dummy, composed by Marc Albert-Levin in 1967 ([Colofon:] “N. B.: Le rapporteur est rentré à Paris dans la nuit du 31 décembre au 1er janvier.” [in ink:] 1966). In grey cardboard cover, with a printed title vignette on the front cover. Another version of the title, written in hand, is also on the front panel. The text sheets (most of them are two sheets mounted together) are numbered (sometimes inconsistently) from 1 to 79, and the book also contains 15 unnumbered plates. The printed text is clipped and mounted on the pages in two columns, with handwritten corrections at numerous places in different inks. Illustrated with more than 650 original b/w photographs by Larry Fink (and some - supposedly - by the author) mounted on the pages, of which two are full-page, and the majority is in contact print forma. . The front panel of the cover is detached, some leaves are dented, the tapes for mounting the sheets and the photos are discolored, ghost to the versos, some loose, thus few photos are missing. Overall in very good condition.

Le petit voyage LSD is Marc Albert-Levin’s personal, psychedelic journal of his first trip to New York, richly illustrated with Larry Fink’s black and white photos.

Marc Albert-Levin (b. 1941), a French art critic, translator, poet, and collage artist visited New York for the first time in late 1966 as a journalist, writing for Les lettres françaises, the French weekly literary publication, edited by Louis Aragon. Later on, during the 1960s Albert-Levin returned to the city frequently and got in touch with the key musicians of the avant-garde and underground music scenes just as the leading figures of the contemporary American counterculture. In the 1970s, while already living in New York, Albert-Levin taught a course about Surrealism and Dadaism at The Cooper Union, worked as a cook in a vegetarian restaurant, and became Miles Davis’ personal cook for a few months. Back in France, he organized concerts for Ornette Coleman, Anthony Braxton’s quartet, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and François Tusques’s quartet.

Many of Albert-Levin’s early articles about his first trip were published in the Les lettres françaises, and his first book, Un printemps à New York (1969), was based upon the text of these articles amended with diary-like personal notes in between the pages. This one, just as his subsequent book, Tour de Farce (about the band The Fugs; 1970), appeared in the same format as the present maquette, and both were illustrated with Fink’s photos.

Le petit voyage LSD, apparently served as a progenitor of Albert-Levin’s later books, although it could never be published, supposedly due to its particularly personal content, with several references to drugs, consumption of LSD, psychedelic experiences, or Timothy Leary and his circle. The book’s less scandalous chapters on 1960s avant-garde jazz, literary, and artistic scenes of New York City thus also remained in the author’s drawer.

By Dore Ashton’s recommendation, Albert-Levin’s guides on his first trip were Richard Alderson, the “electronic genius” who at the time worked as an audio engineer at the ESP-Disc, the most important record company and label of free jazz and underground rock, and the photographer Larry Fink. (Weiss, 2012) Both Alderson and Fink had a wide knowledge of and access to the contemporary avant-garde jazz and underground music scenes in New York, just as to the hippest literary, artistic, and psychedelic circles, which — through his new friends — were frequented and documented by the author. More than 650 photos illustrate Albert-Levin’s journal of which the majority was made by Fink and to our best knowledge never been published.

Larry Fink (Laurence B. Fink; American, b. 1941) is renowned for his social documentary photographs, and his images of creative musicians, which he started to take already in the 1950s owing to his passion for music, especially jazz. Fink also pictured beatniks, boxers, and presidential candidates and had been exhibited at nearly every significant museum of modern art and photography. His most famous series, published in the monograph Social Graces (1984), depicts family celebrations and gatherings of the wealthy Manhattanites and the working-classes Pennsylvanians, contrasting the two very different socioeconomic groups. Somewhere there is music (2006), one of his latest books, is a collection of black-and-white jazz photographs from the 1950s to the late 1970s, portraits dedicated to the musical world and its protagonists. In its foreword, Fink expresses his acknowledgment “To Marc Albert-Levin, a[n] old friend whose understanding and love for the music is on the deepest level.” (Fink & Panichas, 2006)

The story of Le petit voyage LSD follows Albert-Levin’s experimental and inner journey in New York during the winter of 1966. The text was created in a form of an uninterrupted diary, marked by different encounters, experiences, observations, and reflections.

The first leaves contain only photos illustrating the upcoming chapter: a full-page portrait of Richard Alcroft, a detail of the “Head Shop” (at Lower East Side), and four pages of contact print format photos (91) of Albert-Levin, Alcroft, and others. The chapter “Chez Richard Alcroft” [At Richard Alcroft (a psychedelic artist)] is a description of an LSD trip with Nina, who is also featured among the photos. The chapter contains several additional photos as text illustrations (30).

The chapter “Concert Sun Ra” (at Slugs’ Saloon) is illustrated with 30 photos mainly of the musicians.

Descriptions of Alcroft’s psychedelic light projections and other works illustrated with photos (5) of Marion Brown and Sirone’s (Norris Jones) concert.

The author’s agenda for the days between November 10 and 23, illustrated with 10 photos of a vernissage at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts (today: Museum of Arts and Design) and a fashion event.

Description of a day at the beach with Larry and friends, with 8 larger format photos.

Quotations from Marshall McLuhan (the author of The Gutenberg Galaxy), a draft of a plan to record the author’s trip on LSD with the help of Alcroft and Fink, and other personal thoughts (added 2 photos to the end).

Short notes on meeting with Marion Brown at Archie Shepp’s, and on consuming weed. More details on the plan of the documented LSD trip.

At the recording of Marion Brown’s Three for Shepp for the Impulse! label with Rudy Van Gelder and Bob Thiele (with a photo of the album cover). Time spent with a friend, Agathe. Dexter Gordon’s radio interview by Ira Gitler.

Underground cinema screenings at the Gate Theater: a film by Jonas Mekas; Fireworks by Kenneth Anger; Breathdeath by Stan Vanderbeek; Nothing Happened This Morning by David Bienstock; Flesh of the Morning by Stan Brakhage; and Chumlum by Ron Rice.

Illuminations du Bouddha au “Village Theatre” [Illuminations of the Buddha at the Village Theatre], a description of Timothy Leary’s lecture held at the Village Theater (pre-Fillmore East), with contributions by Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) and Allen Ginsberg, amended with two original anti-LSD handbills by Meher Baba mounted on the last page of the chapter.

Chapters on Houston and Orchard streets, illustrated with five pages of photos (87) taken at the “Lower East Side”, the “Rivington street and whereabouts”, and “Rivington street Orchard street”, where Albert-Levin lived during his sojourn (Weiss, 2012).

Two richly illustrated chapters En route vers Milbrook [On the way to Millbrook], and the Castalia Foundation, the headquarters of the League for Spiritual Discovery (the psychedelic research center founded by Timothy Leary and others), the pictures (114) show the Hitchcock Estate (where the Foundation operated), its interiors and scenes of the daily life of the residents and guests, among them the Tamil poet Meary James Thurairajah Tambimuttu. It followed by the copy of Albert-Levin’s handwritten notes about his bad trip on LSD while in Millbrook (the original MS written on the League for Spiritual Discovery’s he stationery paper is included), some additional photos of the facility (19), a clipping of the Psychiatry & Social Science Review, notes on the return trip, the printed text of an unsent letter to Timothy Leary about acid, and further afterthoughts.

Back to normal life, a meeting with Archie Shepp, discussion about jazz. Photos of a visit to Uptown galleries (79): the Willard Gallery, Allan Frumkin Gallery, Charles Egan Gallery, and the Whitney Museum (Edward Hopper’s exhibition at the Breuer building), and an evening Downtown at the Village Theatre with the jazz musicians Jackie McLean, Marion Brown, and Pharaoh Sanders. Memories and thoughts about Christmas, and another printed text of a letter to Timothy Leary.

At the end: 10 pages with pictures, among them images of Larry Fink’s studio (8), street photos of the East Village (67), the pictures (86) illustrating the chapter Illuminations du Bouddha, of which many shows Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, and pictures (24) of the Matchless Gift Shop at the Hare Krishna Temple; a mounted copy of Arnold Mandell’s article The Low-Down on Getting High, the menu distributed on the train to Millbrook (the line “To add to the pleasure of your trip” underlined), and finally an original handbill to John Coltrane’s concert (with the intermission by The Ornette Coleman Trio) at the Village Theatre on December 26, 1966.

Literature: Albert-Levin M. (1969). Un printemps à New-York. J.-J. Pauvert.; Albert-Levin M. (1970). Tour de farce. J.-J. Pauvert.; Fink L. & Panichas G. E. (2006). Larry Fink. Somewhere There’s Music. Damiani.; Weiss J. (2012). Always in Trouble. An Oral History of ESP-Disk’, the Most Outrageous Record Label in America. Wesleyan University Press. (p. 260–4).

Price: €50,000.00