Cynthia “Plaster Caster” Albritton, an artist whose best-known work her sculptures of male rockers members has died at 74. Representatives for the sculptor and self-described “recovering groupie” confirmed the news to Variety, reporting that Albritton died in her home town of Chicago on Thursday (April 21) after a long illness.
Caster became famous for her molds of body parts, including the penises of Jimi Hendrix and his bassist, Noel Redding, the Animals’ Eric Burdon, a variety of rock tour and road managers, the MC5s Wayne Cramer and Dennis Thompson, singer Anthony Newley, the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra, the Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley and more than 40 other filmmakers and rock-adjacent figures.
She later branched out into casting female body parts as well, making breast casts of members of Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, Peaches, members of L7 and the Demolition Doll Rods and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O, among others.
Albritton, born on May 24, 1947 in Chicago, hit upon her unique artistic lane in college when a professor asked the class to cast a solid object the could retain its shape. The budding artist and rock fan decided to try memorializing erect male phalluses using a dental-molding substance, with Hendrix agreeing to be her first subject. Soon after she found a patron in gonzo rocker Frank Zappa, who was not interested in sitting for one of her unique sessions. And while the hirsute avant garde guitarist/composer did not submit himself for casting, he paid for Albritton to move to Los Angeles, where she began making her unique sculptures.
Caster was the subject of the 2001 doc Plaster Caster, and was famously memorialized herself in the Kiss song “Plaster Caster” from the group’s 1977 Love Gun album (sample lyric: “The plaster’s gettin’ harder/ And my love is perfection/ A token of my love/ For her collection”). In 2000 she exhibited her plasterpieces at a SoHo gallery, followed by another showing in 2017 at the MoMA PS1 in Queens, New York. She launched a long-shot, unsuccessful bid for Chicago mayor in 2010 under the “Hard Party” banner.