Kay Larson

Kay Larson

Kay Larson is an art critic and the author of Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists (Penguin Press), an NPR Best Book of 2012.

Recent Articles

We Will Come Back for You

Not so long ago their own families were held in camps like these. That’s why Japanese American Buddhists like Satsuki Ina will keep coming back until the tragedy on America’s southern border ends.

Who Is Avalokiteshvara?

Avalokiteshvara has undergone many transformations over the centuries, but their purpose remains the same — to help humanity with compassion and mercy.

John Cage 4'33 Zen Emptiness Art Avante Garde Kay Larson


In 1952, composer John Cage shook the music world with his most radical composition to date. Kay Larson explores its Zen-inspired lessons in her new book, Where the Heart Beats.


Chinese soldiers, stir-fried scriptures, and Shrek—they’re all part of a provocative new exhibition that’s giving voice to contemporary Tibetan artists.

Inside Art, with Kay Larson

Kay Larson reviews "Grain of Emptiness", an exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art.

Cunningham and Cage

The story of Merce Cunningham and John Cage – how a chance encounter turned into a beautiful artistic partnership.

The Road to McLeod Ganj

Kay Larson travels to McLeod Ganj in northern India for a firsthand look at the challenges facing this Tibetan exile community.