Cynthia “Plaster Caster” Albritton, an artist best known for creating plaster casts of famous musicians’ penises, has died at 74. According to a press release, Albritton died in Chicago after “a long illness.”
Albritton was born in Chicago in 1947. She began her career in 1968, creating plaster genitals belonging to artists including Jimi Hendrix, The Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley, MC5’s Wayne Kramer,and The Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra. Later on, Albritton included breasts in her plaster repertoire, making casts of bosoms belonging to The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O, Peaches, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, and The Mekons’ Sally Timms.
Albritton had a close friendship with Frank Zappa. Though the avant-garde musician was never the model of a sculpture himself, he found much amusement in Albritton’s work and helped her move to Los Angeles, where she found a plethora of willing participants.
Albritton had her first exhibition in New York City in 2000. The following year, she was profiled in Jessica Everleth’s documentary Plaster Caster, and in 2005, she contributed to the 2005 BBC 3 documentary My Penis And I. Albritton has inspired and been referenced in a number of songs, including KISS’ “Plaster Caster,” Le Tigre’s “Nanny Nanny Boo Boo,” Jim Croce’s “Five Short Minutes,” and Momus’ “The Penis Song.”
Albritton unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Chicago in 2010 on the “Hard Party” ticket. “I am not a politician,” she said of her campaign. “I am an everyday citizen that is sick and tired of seeing the problems of our city escalate and I believe we ALL need to participate in helping to make our city the best it can be.”