The 1,240 Oil Barrels Mastaba was realized in conjunction with Christo’s exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. The temporary installation was on view from October 5 to November 11, 1968.
The mastaba was made of 1,240 multicolored oil barrels, stacked in the museum’s atrium. The installation was almost two stories high, filling the whole fifty-by-fifty-foot gallery so that visitors could barely go around the structure.
It was the first time Christo and Jeanne-Claude had succeeded to do a large mastaba. The project was preceded by several other proposals, amongst them plans for Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence, documenta IV in Kassel and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, all of which were not realized.