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This profile was last updated on 9/20/14  and contains information from public web pages.

Employment History

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Party Chief
  • Corner Host
  • Film Festival Director
    Nihilist Cultural Foundation
  • Creative Writing Teacher
    Los Angeles-area community college
  • Sheriff
    LA County


  • University of California at Berkeley
36 Total References
Web References
VOTE NIHILISM Ô88, 20 Sept 2014 [cached]
Michael Dukakis ran as the Democratic candidate, and Elisha Shapiro ran as the National Nihilist Party candidate.
LOS ANGELES-(AP)-Nihilist Party chief Elisha Shapiro is pushing hard to make the T-bird the national bird, Los Angeles the capital. and get National League baseball teams in Managua and Havana
But he's the first to admit that it all means nothing in the end.
Voters are unlikely to see the Nihilist Party listed on ballots in 1988 because of minor details like qualifying rules.
But that doesn't faze Shapiro, 33, a performance artist and remedial reading instructor who says his chief qualification in his write-in campaign for the Oval Office is a fun-loving attitude."
"The few people who have heard of my campaign all say I'm getting their vote," Shapiro said.
Shapiro said people are sick of politicians who always portray the other side as wrong. Nihilists, who don't believe in anything, would be an improvement, he said.
In addition to replacing the bald eagle with the Ford Thunderbird as the national bird, party initiatives include:
The Government Exchange Program: To aid in international understanding, the US government would trade places with another government for one month each year.
Nuclear Poker: Shapiro's administration would disarm 10 warheads and put them on an isolated island somewhere between the United States and the Soviet Union. "Then the bet will be to the Soviets," Shapiro said. "They can call or raise."
Capital Move: The nation's capital would be relocated to Los Angeles because Hollywood is already the cultural capital of the world.
Baseball Expansion: including baseball-loving Nicaragua and Cuba in the National League would knock the Soviets out of the competition for political influence in those countries, Shapiro said.
Shapiro said America needs a president "who's not afraid of making reckless changes."
Elisha Shapiro. Say who? Say Elisha Shapiro, California conceptual artist and the mostly write-in, mostly fun-loving presidential candidate of the National Nihilist Party.
"We're a little behind in the polls," Shapiro admitted. "But we're about to make our move."
Better hustle it up, Elisha. The election is tomorrow.
"I am an artist and this is an art thing, but it is also a political thing," Shapiro said during a phone conversation from his Los Angeles campaign headquarters.
You should know, however, that Shapiro was not born in a log cabin.
He was born in Buffalo, N.Y., 35 years ago and moved with his family to southern California at age three. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1974, where he fondly remembers participating in the university's final anti-Vietnam war demonstration.
Shapiro administration appointments would include gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson as press secretary, radical Angela Davis as head of the FBI, Ted Koppel as ambassador to the USSR, Talking Heads musician David Byrne as head of the joint chiefs of staff and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait as secretary of state.
Shapiro is a major Dodgers fan, so there would also be a spot in his administration for noted diplomat Kirk Gibson.
"I think he should be ambassador to some country we're having trouble with," Shapiro said.
What about the First Lady?
"I have a secret girlfriend who doesn't want any publicity, so she has suggested I appoint an official stand-in as First Lady," Shapiro said. "I figure Little Richard. He'd be such a great hostess."
Shapiro is on the ballot in only one place, Guam. Anyone who declares his or her candidacy gets on the ballot in Guam. So Shapiro says right-on to write-ins everywhere else.
The Nihilist Party slogan for Election '88 is "Vote Nihilism: It's Midnight in America. Get Down . . . and stay down."
But Shapiro, cordial and good-humored, describes himself as Mr. Friendly Nihilist. "People think if you don't believe in anything, you're miserable," he said. "Not me."
"I'm saying, open up your mind a little bit and maybe we can find new solutions," Shapiro said. "Also, I'm a lot more fun than those guys."
said Nihilist Press CEO, Elisha ..., 31 Jan 2006 [cached]
said Nihilist Press CEO, Elisha Shapiro.
Featured in the all new 2014 Nihilism Calendar are all the gruesome, violent and just plain funny events that shock us every day in the newspaper. The Nihilism Calendar combines irreverent humor, grotesque and curious dates of significance, demented press clippings and peculiar snapshots, all of which celebrate reality as nihilists like to see it.
This calendar is part of Elisha Shapiro's ongoing conceptual art exploration of Nihilism. Shapiro, a Los Angeles-based conceptual artist, is known for his 1984 Nihilist Olympics, his 2006 Nihilist Party Campaign for Governor of California, and his 1988 Presidential campaign.
Elisha Shapiro began publishing his Nihilism Calendar in 1980.
Nihilist Productions, 20 Sept 2014 [cached]
Elisha shows some nihilist videos.
Spoken work artist, Linda Albertano, co-hosts this episode with Elisha.
Conceptual artist (and Nihilists' Corner host) Elisha Shapiro creates a special episode in which he explains what Nihilism means to him.
This is also the work of Elisha Shapiro. Video is included
Another large-scale conceptual piece by Elisha Shapiro is featured.
Brian Karl, director of L.A.C.E. (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), comes on to chat with Elisha about the future of this important venue.
In 1994, Elisha ran for LA County Sheriff . This episode features the campaign, complete with comercials and new sheriff uniform designs.
Conceptual artist (and Nihilists' Corner host) Elisha Shapiro creates a special episode in which he explains what Nihilism means to him.
Show number 57 September 7th 1997
Expect Nothing
A brand new video performance by your host, Elisha Shapiro. On this show he explains why he hates spirituality.
Show number 58 October 5th 1997
Art Gallery owner, Rosamund Felson, visits Elisha and chats about her gallery, art in LA, and what art means to her.
Elisha and Yudell chat about the disorder in her art and in life.
Show number 60 December 2nd 1997
Writer Jim Krusoe chats with Elisha about his latest book of short stories. He also read a portion of one of the odd, surreal, disturbing yet funny stories.
Writer Jill Peacock drops by Nihilists' Corner to chat with Elisha about her quirky short stories which have been included in several literary journals. Peacock, an English professor at Santa Monica College, reads from one of her stories and talks with Elisha about writing and her inspiration, family relationships.
Show number 66 June 6th 1998
Musician and performance artist Anna Homler visits with Elisha to celebrate the beginning of Summer.
He chats with Elisha about his latest projects and discusses the way his corner of the entertainment industry works.
Then in February, Nihilists' Corner brings back the show about Elisha's 1988 presidential campaign, Vote Nihilism '88.
In 1994, Elisha ran for LA County Sheriff. This episode features the campaign, complete with comercials and new sheriff uniform designs. This episode was originally shown in June of 1997.
Show number 79 July 4, 1999
Nihilists' Corner host Elisha Shapiro creates a special episode in which he explains what Nihilism means to him. This episode was originally shown in April 1996.
For April Fools' Day, Nihilists' Corner celebrates with Elisha and comedian Larry Wilson telling their favorite jokes.
In celebration of Independence Day, Nihilists' Corner reshows the show about Elisha running for president on the Nihilist Party ticket. The piece was called Vote Nihilism '88. See the campaign video and tape from the Nihilist Party Convention of 1988.
Expect Nothing is a performance for video by Elisha. He explains why he doesn't like spirituality. If you ever wondered, tune in.
John DeFazio chats with Elisha about film making, USC Film School and Hollywood.
Emmy Collins and Larry Wessel chat with Elisha about their films, and the other people they work with making films that do not fit into the commercial mold.
Elisha talks about the Residents' concert he saw. He also discusses Mr. Bill doing tv commercials. The LA mayoral election is examined by the panelists, along with Bush's tax plan.
He also chats with Elisha about his work as an idependant filmmaker.
For April Fools' Day, Nihilists' Corner celebrates with Elisha and comedian Larry Wilson telling their favorite jokes.
Film maker Tom Ballatore talks with Elisha about his film, Timmy's Wish, which won first prize in last year's Nihilist Film Festival.
This is also the work of Elisha Shapiro. Video is included. This show was originally shown in 1996.
Linda, Janice and Wil join Elisha to chat about the book The Lovely Bones, exporting democracy to Iraq, Bush and Arnold, and partial birth abortion.
From 2002, Film maker Tom Ballatore talks with Elisha about his film, Timmy's Wish, which won first prize in the 2001 Nihilist Film Festival.
In preparation for next months Nihilist Film Festival , Elisha shows last years interview with Sebastian Smith and Richard Stiles.
Elisha is running for Governor or California as the Nihilist Party Candidate, and his platform is secession from the United States.
Track 16, 19 Dec 2008 [cached]
Contact: Elisha Shapiro
Festival Director Elisha Shapiro commented, "The tenth year…can you believe it? I'm surprised this festival hasn't triggered the wrath of god. Guess it just goes to show you…anyway, it's still a lot of fun, and I've got to take my hat off to the twisted filmmakers out there who keep going where mainstream culture fears to tread."
As a special feature, all those who bring their own televisions and arrive fifteen minutes early will be able to include their appliances in the traditional ritual Blessing of the Televisions.
Nihilist Film Festival director Elisha Shapiro is a Los Angeles-based conceptual artist. He is known for presenting the 1984 Nihilist Olympics and the 1999 Nihilism Expo. He was also the Nihilist Party candidate for Governor in 2006, for President in 1988, and for LA county sheriff in 1992. Shapiro currently hosts and produces a monthly cable television show, Nihilists' Corner, in Los Angeles and on the World Wide Web.
Elisha Shapiro (aka Nihilist Field Marshal Shapiro) is a Los Angeles-based media prankster and conceptual artist. He has been creating his neo-dadaesque public spectacles for the past 15 years and first came to public attention with his 1984 Nihilist Olympics. The Olympics were followed by a Nihilist campaign for President in 1988 and a Nihilist campaign for LA County Sheriff in 1994. In 1999 he staged Nihilism Expo '99, a world's fair for nihilists. He currently hosts a monthly cable TV show called Nihilists' Corner. List of Field Marshal's Art Work Essay about Field Marshal's Art The Field Marshal's Childhood Return to Nihilists' Corner Homepage
Below is a list of the work of conceptual Artist, Elisha Shapiro.
Elisha Shapiro has had articles published in:
Elisha Shapiro has also written several short stories, a screenplay and an anthology. He was given a reading of two of short stories at SPARC in August 1983. His short story, The Haberdasher, was published in MIXTURE Magazine.
Return to Top Return to Nihilists' Corner Homepage
Below is an essay about Elisha Shapiro's work. Modern mass media has a profound and growing effect on the way people see the world and themselves. Subsequently, mass media exerts great influence over the values to which most people subscribe. This is the reason Elisha Shapiro's conceptual art takes the form of staged public events, and why the press coverage of those events has become central to his work. The form Shapiro has developed expands on the forms and issues which the Dadaists explored in the early part of this century. In addition Shapiro combines some of Warhol's perceptions to bring these explorations to contemporary realities. The form of the work which Mr. Shapiro produces is so related to the content of his art that this form is integral to the artist's expression, adding to the content and significance of the art. These staged events include spectacles like political rallies, press conferences, political conventions, sporting events, fundraising events and world's fairs. Shapiro subverts these benign events by adding incongruous elements like harsh and disturbing imagery and idiosyncratic humor. Through his style of subversion, the artist succeeds at engaging his audience at the same time as he aggressively challenges it.
In the summer of 1984, after four years of careful planning and preparation, Elisha Shapiro presented his Nihilist Olympic conceptual art event in Los Angeles. One of the forty events which comprised this piece was "The U-Turn Competition. On the first Friday of the LA Olympics, panels of Nihilist judges were stationed at five busy intersections around the Los Angeles area. At advertised times, the competition began. More than eighty people competed for the most "stylish" traffic maneuver-and the competition was lively.
Later in the Nihilist Olympics, Shapiro staged "The Lazlo Toth Art Defacing Competition.
As Shapiro finished the Nihilist Olympics, he began planning VOTE NIHILISM '88. In this piece he launched a Nihilist Party campaign for President of the United States. This campaign included an exten sive platform, a campaign video, media events such as an announcement of candidacy, airport campaign stops and a convention. Vote Nihilism '88 incorporated the media attention into itself.
Shapiro creates these events by combining public relations techniques, celebrity imagery and audience participation. He uses commercial forms of photography, video, printing, display, writing and graphics. The result looks like Madison Avenue gone crazy--on a budget.
The word "Nihilism" is a repeated element in this work. Nihilism is simply the rejection of all value systems and the questioning of all bases for moral choice. With this label, Shapiro creates a media image of a person, or sometimes a group of people, who publicly deny basic cultural assumptions about belief. The people the artist creates in his work reject a cultural imperative to subordinate their identities to some moral, religious or commercial value system. The only time that our mass media ever portrays people who don't believe in anything, those people are either a maniacs or monsters. The idea that it could be a reasonable choice to reject this subordination of our identities is completely alien to the mass media and its viewers. So there is an implicit irony when Shapiro inveigles the media (which normally acts to reinforce these cultural values) to broadcast this dissenting point of view.
Shapiro's art takes this adventurous form because this form is effective--it adds depth and irony to the content of the work, it reaches a broad audience and it reaches beyond the usual art audiences.
"Elisha, I think there's something in your eye.
"Elisha, I'm sorry I didn't help you yesterday.
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