David Adamo at Untitled is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

(Courtesy David Adamo and Untitled, NY)

These sculptures by Berlin-based David Adamo are in his solo show at Untitled gallery in New York. At first, they look like more of the crafty, intuitive, "expressive" sculpture that's taking today's art world (and especially its market) by storm. It turns out, however, that Adamo's pieces are very closely based on real termite mounds. This means that objects that seem like abstraction are actually in the center of the realist tradition, closer to Houdon than to any Peter Voulkos retread. It also shows how the classically expressionist urge to give up conscious control over the creative act is doubly reversed in Adamo's latest works: He cedes control, but only by diligently copying the work of another creature – and that creature's creativity, in turn, is the product of a hive-mind rather than individual will or psychology.

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