Music | April 22, 2022 11:14 am

Cynthia Plaster Caster, Artist Who Made Casts of Rock-Star Penises, Dead at 74

The artist reportedly died after "a long illness"

Cynthia Plaster Caster
Cynthia Albritton aka Cynthia Plaster Caster poses with the penis molds from Ronnie Barnett (l) and Richard Lloyd (r) from her show "Penis Dimension" in 2015.
picture alliance via Getty Image

Cynthia Plaster Caster, the legendary Chicago artist and self-described “recovering groupie” who made plaster casts of the erect penises of famous rock musicians, has died following what her representatives described as “a long illness.” She was 74.

Born Cynthia Albritton on May 24, 1947, she began making the phallic casts while in art school, starting with Jimi Hendrix during a 1968 tour stop in Chicago. She would later go on to make roughly 50 penis casts — some of the most famous of which include Hendrix, Wayne Kramer of MC5, Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks and Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys.

Kramer’s, however, was botched, resulting in a cast that appears much shorter than the rest. “It set before he could push his dick all the way into the mold — only the head got in,” Albritton told The Chicago Reader in 2002. “Wayne quite literally got the shaft.” 

In 2000, Albritton held her first exhibition of the casts in New York, and that same year she began making plaster casts of female musicians’ breasts, including those of Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab, Sally Timms of the Mekons, Peaches and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

In 2001, she was the subject of the documentary Plaster Caster, and she’s been immortalized in several rock songs, including KISS’s “Plaster Caster.” In 2010, she ran for mayor of Chicago (unsuccessfully) as a member of “the Hard Party.”

Ultimately, she once said, her casts were a way of humanizing the larger-than-life stars she interacted with.

“Their human flaws make them kind of attractive,” she explained. “I was shocked and delighted to find that they were as insecure as I was. That kind of made me see them in a different light…They’re the same as us.”