BURROUGHS, WILLIAM. 1914-1997.  Prentice, David. Preliminary sketch for an Orgone Accumulator built for William Burroughs [New York; May, 1974]
Lot 195
BURROUGHS, WILLIAM. 1914-1997.
Prentice, David.
Preliminary sketch for an Orgone Accumulator built for William Burroughs [New York; May, 1974]
US$ 1,200 - 1,800
£ 960 - 1,400

Lot Details
BURROUGHS, WILLIAM. 1914-1997.
Prentice, David. Preliminary sketch for an Orgone Accumulator built for William Burroughs [New York; May, 1974] Charcoal and pencil sketch on paper, titled "Orgone acc," signed "Prentice" at lower right, 350 x 280mm. The drawing showing a box like structure with measurements 84h x 30w x 30d inches. The plywood box with sheet metal lining the interior surfaces, and black fur on the exterior surfaces. Slight smudging of the charcoal.
Provenance: David Prentice.

Burroughs was a true believer in the Orgone Accumulator, as he said once, "No doubt about it, orgones are as definite a force as electricity." David Prentice, his artist friend, lived in the apartment below William Burroughs at Centre St, NYC, in the early 1960s. David had been a carpenter before he came to NYC, and when Burroughs arrived back in the city in May 1974 and took a spacious loft at 77 Franklin St, "one of the first jobs Burroughs had done was to ask his Painter-carpenter friend David Prentice to build him an Orgone Box. Prentice made a luxury model, with rabbit fur draped over the iron lining, which Burroughs sat in contentedly every day. 'Maybe I'm as crazy as Reich was,' he said 'but i do think there is something here,'" (Ted Morgan, Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S Burroughs, p 481). David Prentice recalls a conversation with Bill about the Orgone Accumulator: Bill wanted extra organic material around it, so David found an old fur shop on Bond St, north of Houston where he bought some rather cheap old black rabbit fur coats which he cut up and used for the exterior coating. The idea of the Orgone Accumulator, a pseudo-scientific spiritual concept to harness the cosmic rays of life, was proposed in the 1930s by Wilhelm Reich and developed in the States by Reich's student Charles Kelley after Reich's death in 1957. The device became a perfect fit for some in the rise of the New Beat generation. Kerouac in On the Road describes the Orgone Accumulator belonging to Old Bull, a character based on Burroughs. Apparently Burroughs was convinced of its effectiveness and had several built in different properties, sitting in them daily and believing that it helped him to keep his addictions in check.
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