The Happenings burned bright and fast, tapering off in 1963 when Kaprow moved on. Grooms and Oldenburg had already left to pursue other projects. News of the novel art form had started to travel—there were “thrill clubs” that came from Long Island to experience the Happenings and, for Oldenburg, the “audience became less and less interesting to me. I couldn’t really reach them.” The term “Happening” became such an accepted part of 1960s vernacular that it was used as a title for a song by girl group The Supremes.
Despite the brevity of the movement and the difficulty of reconstructing the original events, the Happenings were formative for the artists involved. Oldenburg’s built environments, used as backdrops for several of his events, for example, marked the beginning of his experimentation with soft sculptures that would become his signature form of art, commenting on American culture and consumerism.