Louis Abolafia

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Louis Abafolia holding a campaign-related sign during his run for the United States Presidency.

Louis Abolafia (February 23, 1941 – October 30, 1995[1]) was an artist, social activist, and folk figure. His candidacy for President of the United States under the Nudist Party[2] on the Hippie 'Love Ticket' various times in the 1960s and onward was a form of political theater or performance art. He "ran" against Richard Nixon in 1968 as the naked Hippie "love candidate" with the slogan: "What Have I Got To Hide?" Abolafia had previously run in 1967 under the Cosmic Love Party, even then with the slogan "What Have I Got To Hide?"[3]

The son of a New York City florist, Abolafia was part of the Greenwich Village art scene in the 1960s. In this capacity, he organized "love-ins" and "happenings" that combined music, poetry and audience participation, inspiring the New York press to crown him "The Love King". He was a long-time resident of the Lower East Side, where he sheltered wayward youths and other transients in his storefront studio in the East Village.[4] He published a pornographic/countercultural newspaper, Abolafia's Luv, and had several art exhibitions between 1967-70. He befriended a number of 1960s artistic luminaries, including Bob Dylan,[4] artist Yayoi Kusama,[5] Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol (and other Factory hangers-on), Canadian socialite Margaret Trudeau, and Satsvarūpa Dāsa Gosvāmī, a senior disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement.[citation needed]

A 1968 Campaign Poster

Abolafia inspired the creation of the Exotic Erotic Ball in 1979 in San Francisco, which was held annually for more than three decades until it was canceled in 2010. In press materials for the first Ball, which was held as a campaign fundraiser for Abolafia, he was claimed to have coined the phrase, "Make love, not war!", though the attribution is disputed.[6]

He was a "descendent of the Abolafias—writers of the Kabbala"[7]


Louis Abolafia died of a drug overdose in 1995 in California, aged 54.[8]


  1. ^ Find a Grave profile for Louis Abolafia, findagrave.com; accessed December 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Rakoff, David (September 2006). "Sex With Strangers". SPIN. SPIN Media LLC: 92. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  3. ^ Havel, James T. (1996). The elections, 1789-1992. Macmillan Library Reference USA. p. 217. ISBN 9780028646237.
  4. ^ a b Mastropolo, Frank (October 30, 2013). "Was Banksy Inspired By This East Village Nudist Who Ran For President?". Bedford + Bowery. Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  5. ^ Kusama, Yayoi (2013-09-05). Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama. Tate Enterprises Ltd. p. 89. ISBN 9781849760874.
  6. ^ Rakoff, Jeff (September 2006). "Sex With Strangers". Spin: 92.
  7. ^ Abolafia for President 1967-05-13 , The New Yorker p.40
  8. ^ "Louis Abolafia, 54, was on Hippie 'Love Ticket'", Boston Globe, November 3, 1995.

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