May Makki and Finn Jubak

Co-founders of Riso Bar

Earlier this year, full of vim and vigor and after a year of planning, the artist-curator team of Finn Jubak and May Makki helped launch a space called the RISO Bar, dedicated entirely to the Risograph, a printing process that’s like, let’s say, a cross between screen printing and a photocopier. Housed in the Pollock Gallery at Southern Methodist University, Riso Bar was briefly the vibrant hub of self-publishing activity and book presentation before everything shut down in March: “a collaborative exhibition that engages with the vast riso network, exploring the risograph’s potential as a tool for learning and experimentation.” Since then, Jubak and Makki have deftly pivoted the Riso Bar online, with hopes of an IRL presentation again soon. They send herewith a list of their favorite recent risograph publications.

+Stages by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff weaves together interviews from end of life care workers at a nursing home--from housekeepers originally from Ghana explaining ghosts and family structures to a clinical nutritionist describing how she helps people stop eating food at the ends of their lives. Interspersed throughout are the author’s own reflections on life as a twenty-something, along with stage directions and photo documentation of the productions she put on with residents and staff.

  • I said: The show will acknowledge all the gestures of care that people do in nursing homes beyond their job description. This project will make this invisible work visible.
  • The PR lady said: Isn’t that just kindness? 

There’s a riso printout of a conversation between the author and publisher about the Green New Deal and what Stages has to do with it. Together, the texts are helping us think through policy shifts that would reflect our vision for an economy that values care work, health, the planet, and the arts and how beautiful book-objects can help.

+Total Monsoon is a compendium and finale to Endless Monsoon, a series of comics that Sarah Welch created in installments from 2013 - 2018. The protagonist is a recent arrival to Houston and struggles with ceaseless rain, cockroaches, and finding a job and safe place to live.


Welch’s style and approach as a storyteller change over time, reminding me that great projects take years to unfold. There are so many incredible non-narrative moments of stillness that feel good and sad.

+Every book Kayfa ta makes. Kayfa ta (How-To) is a non-profit Arabic/English publishing initiative that uses the form of the how-to manual to consider today’s sensibilities. The skills it explores are technical/reflective/speculative. I have How to imitate the sound of the shore using two hands and a carpet by Cevdet Erek and How to know what’s really happening by Francis McKee in the perpetual stack by my bed.

We’ve been thinking a lot about the how-to form at a time when it feels especially important to share collective knowledge and tactics. In a way, we think that’s what independent publishing should do. Also, these books are the size of my hand, stylish yet practical. They are my dream books.

+The Thief and the Cobbler: The Recobbled Cut is a fan-made restoration of Richard Williams’ decades-in-the-making magnum opus that was regretfully scuttled by studios. It tells the story of a humble cobbler who pretty much saves his whole city from invasion with one of his little shoe tacks. Garrett Gilchrist spent eight years assembling this version, which became a cult phenomenon. He adheres to Williams’ original vision using working sketches and other archival sources. The result is amazing, as the film switches from baroque levels of detail in fully realized scenes to faded line drawings to fill out the parts of the script that were never animated. This is topped off with a completely mesmerizing Rube Goldberg-like finale that is an animated high-dea.


Screen capture from The Thief and the Cobbler

+Caroline Polachek: We were planning to see her concert in Dallas in April, but since that’s not possible we’ve just been blasting her album on repeat and reenacting this music video.

+These great posters from Secret Riso Club in Ridgewood, NY.

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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