New York Artist Terry Niedzialek Specializes in Turban Blight

updated 01/12/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/12/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Can't do a thing with the old mop? Don't tell Terry Niedzialek. The 30-year-old New York hairstylist turned hair sculptress once played Video Sassoon, installing a closed-circuit TV in a friend's tresses. Another of her sessions left a different model friend with a row of smoke-belching chimneys rising from her scalp and a two-lane blacktop circling her head.

In lieu of real heads to dress, Niedzialek creates wig-alikes for exhibitions she has staged in London and Paris and for her current show (until Jan. 31) at Manhattan's Jus de Pomme gallery. The sculpted dos are priced from $800 to $2,000. So far none have sold, but Niedzialek seems content to ponder the deeper theme of her art: "The different environments built on people's heads express the unity we have with our environment," she says. Employing Styrofoam, clay, wire, twigs, photochemicals, paints and "tons of Tenax" hair gel to make her point, Niedzialek needs up to an hour to untangle one of her art pieces. "We've had great scenes looking for places to soak my head," says Alyce Hersenhart, a friend and one of the artist's willing volunteers. Niedzialek's hubby, Julius Vitali, 34, an artist of some eccentricity—he makes neckties resembling hairy chests—insists of his wife's work that "someone could wear it on the street." If so, Niedzialek's do might finally make some dough.

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