Monsanto Intervention, 2013

Kirsten Stolle

Monsanto Intervention is a series of redacted and collaged Monsanto Chemical Company magazine advertisements from the 1940s to the 1960s, during which time the company promoted their chemicals for use in war, agriculture, and the home. By redacting, cutting and drawing on the original text, the artist altered the intended messaging and reframed the visuals to expose the actual threats posed by the toxic chemicals being promoted. 52 New Chemicals is derived from a 1947 Fortune Magazine advertisement for the Smith, Barney & Co. investment-banking firm’s financial support of Monsanto; Better Business, also 1947, from an advertisement marketing insecticides for home, farm, and commercial applications; Sweetness Is a Materiel of War, from a 1947 Saturday Evening Post advertisement promoting saccharin to U.S. soldiers during sugar rationing in WWII; and Shiner from a 1942 TIME advertisement promoting the anti-corrosion compound Ferrisul, which was used in military weapons and particularly in targeting Hitler’s regime.

Monsanto Intervention documents evidence of false advertising that led to environmental destruction. The display of misleading advertising can be legally prosecuted using scientific evidence of the toxicity of chemicals the advertisements promote. The work reflects the seductive visual language and textual rhetoric of printed advertisements for tracing the history of political and economic developments of highly problematic industries.

Read Chemical Interventions by Mary Anne Redding.

52 New Chemicals; Better Business; Sweetness is a Materiel of War; Shiner.

Collage, Monsanto magazine advertising, colored paint chips, glitter, ink. Each 11 x 8 ½ in. 28 x 22 cm.
Courtesy of the artist.

52 New Chemicals
Better Business
Sweetness is a Materiel of War