Dina Ramadan: A Taste for the Modern: Art Criticism and the Making of the Egyptian Bourgeoisie
Scholar Dina Ramadan discusses the journal Sawt el-Fannan (The Voice of the Artist)—a self-proclaimed pioneering publication in the field of Egyptian art criticism, first produced in 1950—as a departure point for understanding the ways in which art criticism has been imagined in Egypt. Through an expansive understanding of its field, Sawt el-Fannan has produced a complicated and multifaceted relationship between artistic production and art criticism, one in which its role is both reflective and productive. For Ramadan, the notion of “taste” or al-Hassa al-Dhawqiyya is central to the objectives of Sawt el-Fannan as a means of cultivating a bourgeois artistic awareness and aesthetic sensibility (what French cultural sociologist Pierre Bourdieu would call “cultural competence”) as part of the larger project of constructing the modern subject in Egypt.
This program is part of Museum as Hub: Antikhana, a project organized by the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo, on view in the fifth-floor Museum as Hub space through September 21, 2008.
Dina A. Ramadan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. Her research as focused on the exhibition and representation of Middle Eastern artistic production in Western art capitals. Her dissertation research is concerned with the development of the category of modern art in Egypt and its role in the production of the modern Egyptian subject.