At the same time as Christo's first personal exhibition, at the Galerie Haro Lauhus, in Cologne in 1961, Christo and Jeanne-Claude created their first temporary outdoor environmental work of art. The gallery was near the waterfront of the River Rhine.

With Dockside Packages, the artists used several stacks of large rolls of industrial paper, covering them with tarpaulins, which they secured with ropes. For Stacked Oil Barrels, Christo and Jeanne-Claude used a large number of oil drums, employing cranes and other machinery to stack them into large structures.

With the permission of the Port Authority, all the materials were borrowed from the dockworkers. Stacked Oil Barrels and Dockside Packages were composed of separate parts of various sizes, each approximately 16.4 x 6.5 x 32.8 feet (5 x 2 x 10 meters).

The temporary work of art remained for two weeks.