By: Sophie Edens, Public Relation & Marketing Intern

In 1957, Russia launched the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik. This initiated what became known as the “Space Age.”

According to, Sputnik was launched during the ideal solar period called the International Geophysical Year. This period of time was ideal for launching satellites into space to learn more about Earth and the solar system. It was intended to allow scientists from around the world to take part in a series of coordinated observations of various geophysical phenomena.

Theodore Roszak’s 1959 work Invocation, Variation #3 represents this game-changing launch. With the exploding stars and elegant moon, Roszak’s Invocation, Variation #3 becomes a narrative and expressive entity.

This sculpture is the third variation of the Invocation series Roszak sculpted. Invocation, Variation #1 focuses on “interpreting the fundamental ideas concerning the meaning of life.” Invocation, Variation #2 focuses on the spiritual qualities. Invocation, Variation #3 combines the two and completes the series, though a fourth and fifth Variation appears to have been created.

Roszak’s sculpting career began at the end of World War II, and many of his sculptures portray messages in relation. For instance, Roszak spoke of his work, Firebird, as a representation of the death and rebirth cycles that emerge from the post-WWII era. Multiple of his other works, including Invocation, Variation #3, were influenced by post-Cold War and post-WWII.
You could have the chance to learn more about the space age, the USSR Sputnik, and the ensuing Space Race by visiting the Ball State Charles W. Brown Planetarium. Shows are offered free-of-charge, typically on Fridays, but you may check the online calendar for show information and future showings. The shows change, so come back more than once to expand your knowledge, learn more about the history of space exploration, and scientific discoveries being made.

For educational purposes, you may reserve a private showing for free! Request forms are required for all groups, and at least 25 people must be attending. You may choose from live shows presented by a trained lecturer which can be adapted to fit your needs. Or, if you prefer, you may select an educational program that is designed specifically for planetariums, accompanied by a short live presentation for your group.

Multiple tours in the past have planned trips for both the David Owsley Museum of Art and the Charles W. Brown Planetarium, focusing on one topic. Art is an expressive and visual embodiment of history; you can learn a lot about the world by looking at the art of the era. Other artists have painted historical events just like Roszak, such as Defiance by William Gropper. Defiance expresses the Russian people’s’ revolt against the Nazi totalitarianism, specifically the Siege of Leningrad. You can view both Invocation, Variation #3 and Defiance on the upper level of the museum in the Ball Brothers Foundation Gallery.

If you are interested in learning more about art, historical events told with brush or a chisel rather than spoken/written word, space, and how they can all tie together – plan your trip now! Click here to see how you can arrange a group tour of our museum!