The stars as seen through African eyes, a new space grows in Larchmont and shows in garages. Here's what's going down in L.A. and beyond:
"African Cosmos: Stellar Arts" at the L.A. County Museum of Art. More than three dozen objects made from wood, gold, beads, stone and silver look at the topic of astronomy in African art, from the exploration of celestial forms (literally, stars) to the ways in which phenomena such as lightning and thunder can serve as points of inspiration and contemplation. Works run the gamut, including ancient Egyptian artifacts, Yoruba instruments and a 2009 work of animation by Karel Nel that explores the sensation of moving through time and space. Through Nov. 30, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.
John Knuth, "Base Alchemy" at Emma Gray. A little bit of art, a little bit of science and lots of flies. Knuth feeds flies watercolor paint and sugar and, as the insects digest the infusion, they leave prints of this colorful mix on his canvases. (You can read all about it over at KCET's Artbound.) The show will also contain the artist's so-called "sci-fi sunsets," pieces made from Mylar that are partially melted with flares. Bonus points for the location: Emma Gray is a gallery located inside a Santa Monica garage. Opens Saturday at noon, call or email ahead to get the location in Santa Monica, emmagrayhq.com.
Elizabeth Withstandley, "The Accident," at Winslow Garage. And because I'm all about garages this week: This show, also held in a garage (this one in Silver Lake), is an installation that includes photos and audio that explore the funny, frank way children react to an accident. Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m., 1342 Edgecliffe Drive, Silver Lake, winslowgarage.com.
The Great Summer Pokémon Festival at Chin's Push. Because the world hasn't had enough cat-inspired cartoon characters this week, an alternative art space in Highland Park is hosting a Pokémon festival. This will include video games, tournaments, live music and DJ sets by the art-radio types from KCHUNG. Should be good and '90s geeky. Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m., 4917 York Blvd., Highland Park, facebook.com.
"On the Map 2014: Shoptalk With Ball-Nogues Studio," organized by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Design. The design studio led by Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues is known for its elaborate architectural installations, which have included the creation of a cardboard canyon at Rice University and the draping of MOMA PS1's courtyard in colorful Mylar "petals." Thursday evening at their L.A. studio they are hosting a talk about their work and their process. Looking for a primer? The blog We Make Money Not Art has a good overview of their work. Thursday at Ball Nogues Studio, 3533 E. Olympic Blvd., Boyle Heights, laforum.org. There is a $10 admission fee.
"The Meme Machine" at Agency. A new space debuts in Larchmont with a four-person show featuring Luis Gispert, Veronique D'Entremont, Abdul Mazid and Rimas K. Simaitas. The show includes Gispert's 2003 video, "Block Watching," a surreal green-screen video that shows a cheerleader mouthing the sound of a car alarm. Opens Saturday at 5:30 p.m., 4911 Clinton St., Larchmont, agencycontemporaryart.com.
"Tim Youd: The Long Goodbye" at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. This is the last week to catch this show by performance artist Tim Youd, whose recent work has consisted of retyping 100 classic novels. Youd types on the same make and model of typewriter as a novel's original author (including Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski), and the exhibition includes his sculptural reproductions of those machines, along with the single sheet of paper he uses to retype each book. Through Sunday at 700 Prospect St., La Jolla, mcasd.org.
David Mamet, "Race," at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. This play received middling reviews when it debuted on Broadway in 2009. But with 2014 being the Summer of Ferguson (as well as the summer that the Beverly Hills police detained a prominent black producer who was in town for the Emmy Awards), it seems the right time to revisit Mamet's story about three attorneys defending a white man in a crime against a black woman. Opens Sunday, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, centertheatregroup.org.