Kinsey Institute Announces Cynthia Plaster Caster Collection

Collection documents rock and roll history in artwork, diaries and rock memorabilia


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University has acquired an historic collection of artwork, memorabilia and personal effects from renowned artist Cynthia Albritton, also known as Cynthia Plaster Caster.

Cynthia Plaster Caster became famous for creating plaster casts of musicians’ erect penises. From 1968 through 2014, she cast over 70 phalluses of mostly rock and punk musicians, tour and road managers, actors, and artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks, actor and singer Anthony Newley, and “Ivan” of the Flying Karamazov Brothers. Many of these plaster molds were also cast in bronze. In 2000, she began casting female musicians’ breasts including Suzi Gardner of L7, singer Peaches, and Karen O. from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The new collection at the Kinsey Institute includes many of these famous plaster penis molds, bronze penis casts, breast casts, and a plethora of original drawings, prints, notes, and annotated books. Additional items in the collection offer a fascinating glimpse of Cynthia’s artistic process. Her many diaries include meticulous notes she took of each casting session and document her commitment to continually evolving and improving the composition of her casting materials and her molding technique.

What I see in Cynthia’s work is twofold: this amazing respect she had for the musicians and the way that she honors them with her art and her craft,” said Melanie Cooper Pennington, a lecturer in sculpture in the IU Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design and affiliate faculty of the Kinsey Institute. “She did it in a very unorthodox and original way — how cool is that? No one else had the bravery to memorialize someone this way.” 

Following her death in April 2022, long-time friends Babette Novak and Chris Kellner contacted the Kinsey Institute regarding her collection.

“Cynthia wanted people to know who she was and what her role in music history was, rock and roll musical history, especially,” Novak said. “We know the Kinsey Institute can provide the attention and sincere representation of Cynthia’s vast talent and life mission.”

“The Kinsey Institute is a teaching institution,” Kellner added. “They have an archive that is accessible to people. That’s something we were passionate about. This is about contextualizing things so her archives can be looked at and researched in the future by scholars."

The Plaster Caster collection includes Cynthia’s “Plaster Casters of Chicago” suitcase – which served as both portable storage for her casting tools and as a highly-visible calling card that she used to attract the attention of musicians and their entourages -- as well as a host of additional music memorabilia that paints a picture of the vibrant early world of rockers and groupies. Cynthia preserved her tickets to music shows from the 1960s and the 1970s with legendary performers like the Beatles, the Kinks, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, and Jimi Hendrix. Her notebooks include entries about the locations she visited, and her observations, sketches, and portraits of some of the musicians and people she met.

“We are so thrilled to be the permanent home of Cynthia’s life’s work,” said Rebecca Fasman, Kinsey Institute Curator. “I knew about Cynthia from the time I was a teenager - I went to art school in Chicago and she was already an incredibly well-respected and adored artist and music lover. Knowing that we are charged with preserving her legacy for decades to come is such an honor to all of us at the Institute and to me personally.”

The Kinsey Institute is also grateful for a financial gift from Desert Harvest to support the processing and digitization of the Cynthia Plaster Caster Collection.

"We are honored to join forces with the illustrious Kinsey Institute to wholeheartedly support the momentous acquisition of the Cynthia Plaster Caster collection,” said Heather Florio, CEO of Desert Harvest. “Cynthia's visionary work transcends boundaries, forging an unparalleled connection between the domains of sex and rock 'n' roll. With an unrivaled sociological and anthropological depth, she immortalizes an era of free love in a way that has never been achieved throughout the annals of history.”

The Plaster Caster collection joins several million items in The Kinsey Institute Library and Special Collections, which span 2,000 years of human sexual behavior and are a destination research collection for scholars and students.

The Kinsey Institute is looking forward to welcoming scholars to work with the Cynthia Plaster Caster Collection once processing is complete.

 For press inquiries regarding the collection, please contact



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