This paper is born of two somewhat separate but interrelated concerns: the oft-repeated assertion that there exists no history of art criticism in Egypt, and the greatly felt “absence” of an archive, an organized system of collecting and cataloguing dedicated to the fine arts in Egypt. It is with these two concerns in mind that I propose we approach the journal Sawt el-Fannan (The Voice of the Artist), for it was in response to these perceived shortcomings that this publication—a self-proclaimed pioneer in the field of Egyptian art criticism–was first produced in 1950. Despite the thriving Egyptian art scene of the time (or what is repeatedly referred to by journal contributors as al-nahda al-fanniyya al-haditha), such a movement was seen to lack a certain credibility and effectiveness, of being in danger of a short life in the absence of the appropriate reflection, recording, and documentation. In other words, the establishment of Sawt el-Fannan took place with a great sense of urgency on the part of contributors that reflects much of what was seen to be at stake in the existence of a modern art scene in Egypt. Therefore a close examination of the editorial vision behind Sawt el-Fannan is an important departure point for understanding the ways in which art criticism was being imagined during this period. By delineating the parameters of what Sawt el-Fannan considered to be this field known as “art criticism” or al-naqd al-fanni, we can begin to identify some of the functions it was expected to fulfill, and by extension, begin to address the place and function of art in Egypt at the time. I want to suggest that through its expansive understanding of its field, Sawt el-Fannan produces a complicated and multi-faceted relationship between artistic production and art criticism, one in which its role is both reflective and productive. As will become apparent, the notion of “taste” or al-hassa al-dhawqiyya is central to the objectives of Sawt el-Fannan; what such a publication is ultimately invested in are the wider discourses involved in cultivating a bourgeois artistic awareness and aesthetic sensibilities, what Bourdieu would call cultural competence, as part of the larger project of constructing the modern subject in Egypt.