Rocket’s Guide to the Best Exhibitions this Spring and Summer

At Rocket, we’ve cultivated a deep-seated passion for blending food and art seamlessly, and we take immense pride in our distinguished track record of crafting events that harmonize with specific exhibitions, often featuring exclusive private views. Our devotion to surprising and delighting guests knows no bounds, as we meticulously curate every aspect of our events, from the intricacies of menu design to the allure of food stalls, the elegance of canapé trays, and the sophistication of staff styling. With London’s vibrant art scene constantly evolving, there’s never a shortage of captivating exhibitions on the horizon, many of which are hosted by our affiliated venues. Read on to uncover a selection of upcoming standout exhibitions.

To plan an event that echoes any upcoming exhibitions (listed here or not!), feel free to reach out to us at We’ll be delighted to provide you with a bespoke brochure featuring captivating menu ideas and creative inspirations tailored for your event.

Angela Kauffman at the Royal Academy

Angela Kauffman, often often referred to as “the female Raphael” was one of the most celebrated artists of the 18th century. She painted pioneering historical and mythological paintings from a distinctly female lens, largely focusing on female protagonists.

The exhibition traces her trajectory from child prodigy to one of Europe’s most sought-after painters. A canny businesswoman, Kauffman demanded the same prices as her male counterparts and made friends with the right people – one of her most celebrated portraits is that of Joseph Reynolds, the first president of the Royal Academy. This is a stunning exhibition featuring an array of celebrity portraits, her celebrated ceiling paintings for the Royal Academy’s first home in Somerset House, as well as her famous history paintings of subjects including Circe and Cleopatra.

This exhibition is set in the Sackler Wing of the Royal Academy, an intimate space on the second floor of the gallery. The space can accommodate 350 for a standing canapé reception and 100 for a seated dinner. The Kauffman exhibition would provide the perfect backdrop to a variety of elegant and sophisticated events within the iconic Royal Academy.

From 1st March – 30 June 2024. View more here.

‘Portraits of Domenica Morghen and Maddalena Volpato as Muses of Tragedy and Comedy’ by Angelica Kauffman, 1791

Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and The Blue Rider, Tate Modern

The Blue Rider group – also known as Der Blaue Reiter – were a circle of artist friends and close collaborators founded in Munich in 1911. They rallied around Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriel Münter to experiment with colour, sound, and light, with the aim of transforming modern art. This exhibition at the Tate Modern will feature 130 works by The Blue Rider group, including paintings, sculpture, photography and performance. It’s a story of friendships told through art, examining the creatives who made up the group and their various interests and experimentations. This bold and vibrant exhibition is a must-see for anyone who loves early 20th century art.

The exhibition is on the third floor of the gallery, which provides an ideal setting for a drinks reception for up to 300. Holly Cruz, Rocket’s Deputy Head of Events, suggests positioning a 12 foot bar in front of the escalator, which is on the same floor as the exhibition, allowing for the perfect flow from exhibition to drinks and canapés. Guests can then segue to The Bridge which is on the mezzanine of the Tate Modern, and which can accommodate up to 400 for a seated dinner.

From 25 April to 20 October; view more here.

'The Blue Rider' by Wassily Kandinsky, 1903

Barbie®: The Exhibition at the Design Museum

Opening to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the Barbie brand this year, this exhibition explores the story of Barbie through a design lens, including fashion, architecture, furniture and vehicle design. Curated by the Design Museum’s Danielle Thom, the exhibition has been three years in the making. The museum was given access to the Barbie archives in California to select rare and unique items that map the story of the iconic brand, including early editions of the doll, friends of Barbie, including a variety of dolls that highlight the diversity of the Barbie range, with examples of the first Black, Hispanic and Asian dolls to bear the Barbie name, as well as dolls that reflect today’s diverse, multicultural society. The exhibition also includes other objects from the Barbie world, including Dreamhouses, vehicles, and furniture.

To immerse your guests in the whimsical world of Barbie, Event Manager Molly Cox suggests starting with canapés and Barbie-themed cocktails outside on the plaza, setting the tone for an evening of elegance and nostalgia. Inside the museum’s atrium, you could offer delectable food stalls with space to accommodate anywhere from 150 to 750 guests.  For a more intimate experience, guests could take their seats and indulge in a Barbie-themed dinner in the Design Kitchen, boasting panoramic views of Holland Park and seating for up to 80 guests.

From 5 July 2024 to 23 February 2025; find more information here.

Barbie at the Design Museum

The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure at the National Portrait Gallery

Witness the extraordinary showcase that celebrates the Black figure and its representation in contemporary art. Featuring the works of talented artists from the African diaspora such as Michael Armitage, Lubaina Himid, Kerry James Marshall, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Amy Sherald, the exhibition highlights the use of figure to illuminate the richness and complexity of Black life and the story of representation told through these works, as well as the social, psychological and cultural contexts in which they were produced. An unmissable exhibition that challenges preconceived notions and highlights the power of art in telling stories.

‘We love hosting dinners and receptions at The NPG; the gallery is so versatile and dynamic, allowing us to create a variety of options for our clients. For me, a reception on the ground floor is the popular choice as guests can experience the new entrance and impressive information desk that doubles up as a bar. Hosting an event adjacent to the exhibition is always a winner for us; drinks, delicious canapes and beautiful artwork.’
Louisa Moule, Head of Sales at Rocket

Tickets available now until 19 May, find out more here.

'She was learning to love moments, to love moments for themselves' by Amy Sherald, 2017

Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Independence at the V&A

The V&A’s Tropical Modernism exhibition is a deep dive into 1940s architectural influences that developed in the hot, humid conditions within West Africa and India. After independence, India and Ghana adopted the style as a symbol of modernity and progressiveness, distinct from colonial culture. Featuring objects, paintings, sculpture and film alongside architectural drawings, models and plans, the exhibition charts the evolution of modernist architecture outside the West and how buildings and aesthetics can represent culture and mirror societal change.

“Tropical Modernism is exhibited in the Porter Gallery, ideally located next to the Dome, the iconic space to hold an event at the V&A. In the summer months the stunning John Madejski becomes an option offering rare outside space in SW7. For a dinner then the recently refurbished Raphael Court can host up to 400 on round tables. The exhibition is bright and bold, and so you can really have fun with the styling and food choices. Think structural canapé trays, vibrant linens, potted Kentia palms, white tuxedos, zingy West African and Indian flavours, and flamboyant cocktails.” – Charlie Grant Peterkin, Commercial Director at Rocket

Until Sunday 22nd September. Find out more here.

Tropical Modernism at the V&A

Sargent and Fashion at Tate Britain

Renowned for his captivating portrait paintings, this exhibition offers fresh insights into the celebrated works of John Singer Sargent. Delving into his role as both artist and stylist, it reveals how he meticulously crafted the personas of his subjects, often with whom he shared close connections.

Sargent ingeniously wielded fashion as a means of conveying identity and character. Whether selecting attire for his subjects or subtly adjusting their garments, he employed costume as a central element of his artistic expression. From cinching a coat to accentuate a figure to allowing a dress strap to delicately slip from a shoulder, his bold sartorial choices served to convey his artistic vision.

Featuring nearly 60 of Sargent’s masterpieces, including rarely exhibited major portraits, the exhibition offers a rare glimpse into his oeuvre. Additionally, period garments showcased alongside the portraits they adorned further illustrate Sargent’s innovative approach to capturing the essence of his era. This captivating showcase underscores how Sargent utilized fashion to create enduring portraits that continue to enthrall audiences today.

“For an evening that includes a private view of the exhibition, guests can arrive through the main Millbank entrance with a reception in the awe-inspiring Sackler Octagon and Duveen Galleries which is near the exhibition. There is then the option to move on to an intimate dinner in one of the many stunning gallery spaces.” – Victoria Kalirai, Head of Events at Rocket

Until 7th July 2024, find out more here.

'Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1864-1932)' by John Singer Sargent, 1892

Ranhit Singh: Sikh, Warrior, King, at the Wallace Collection

Embark on a captivating journey through the remarkable life of Ranjit Singh (1780–1839), the revered Sikh leader, in the Wallace Collection’s forthcoming exhibition, “Ranjit Singh: Sikh, Warrior, King.”

Fueled by unwavering determination, Ranjit Singh unified the turbulent Punjab region, now spanning across Pakistan, amid the tumultuous backdrop of Afghan invasions. By the onset of the 19th century, he emerged as the undisputed Maharaja, molding the influential Sikh Empire.

Under his visionary leadership, a golden age flourished, marked by vibrant trade, blossoming arts, and a formidable military. Delve into his compelling story through a curated selection of nearly 100 mesmerizing artworks, including exquisite jewelry and weaponry sourced from significant private and public collections of the Sikh Empire.

Victoria Kalirai, Rocket’s Head of Events, suggested beginning with a canapé reception in the courtyard, which is a beautiful versatile space with natural light coming through the glass ceiling. The exhibition can remain open throughout the evening, so guests can view it at their leisure. If the evening includes dinner, Victoria suggests beginning with a canapé reception upstairs in the Drawing Room suites followed by dinner downstairs in the Courtyard with the exhibition just a short walk away.

From April 10th to October 20th, 2024. Find out more here.

Ranjit Singh: Sikh, Warrior, King at the Wallace Collection

The Last Caravaggio at the National Gallery

Rarely do we encounter a painting as poised to unravel the enigma of Caravaggio’s twilight years as his final masterpiece, ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula’ (1610, Gallerie d’Italia, Naples). After two decades, this iconic artwork is making its long-awaited return to London.

Displayed alongside the poignant letter detailing its genesis (Archivio di Stato, Naples) and the National Gallery’s own rendition of Caravaggio’s later period, ‘Salome with the Head of John the Baptist’ (circa 1609–10), this exhibition promises an unforgettable encounter with the maestro’s legacy.

“The Last Caravaggio is crying out for a ‘Last Supper’ served on long banqueting tables in the recently refurbished Gallery 32. The tablescape playing on a Caravaggio still life, inspired by the ‘strong contrasts of light and dark’ that we see in his work – rich burgundies and touches of gold, tumbling fruit, candelabra, ornate vases, pops of bright flowers against dark foliage…  An Italian menu served with precision by staff in white tunics: Veneto prosecco, cicchetti, Stracciatella, Amalfi Lemon and delicious Sicilian wines. Perfecto.” – Charlie Grant Peterkin, Commercial Director at Rocket

Mark your calendars for the unveiling of this extraordinary artwork, on view from April 18th to July 21st, 2024. For further details, visit here.

'The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula' by Caravaggio, 1610

At Rocket, we work with a variety of museums and galleries which provide a spectacular backdrop for dinners, parties, and events and offer the unique opportunity to include private views of these exhibitions. To find out more, please email or call 020 7622 2320

Celeste Good
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