de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

Game Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like?

October 12 - December 9, 2006

Aimee Mullins

Game Face is the extraordinary exhibition of 139 color and black-and-white photographs that explores the role sports have played in the lives of girls and women. The engaging images in the exhibition feature a variety of genres—documentary, conceptual, vernacular, sports action—as well as subjects,time periods, locations, ethnicities, and ages. The photographs depict women participating in many different types of sports—from table tennis to pole-vaulting and hunting to hardball—and feature a broad range of styles and subjects—from a sepia-toned portrait of a corseted woman with a bicycle in the 1890s to a full-color action shot of SCU alum and star athlete Brandi Chastain savoring, without inhibition, her team’s sudden-death World Cup victory.

The photographs in Game Face feature celebrated sports stars such as Marion Jones, Chris Evert, Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain, Picabo Street,Serena Williams, Janet Evans, Cheryl Hayworth, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Tara Lipinski, and Martina Navratilova alongside dozens of amateurs. Each image offers a unique response to the questions at the very heart of Game Face:What does a female athlete look like? What do girls and women look like, freed from traditional feminine constraints, using their bodies in joyful and empowering ways?

For Game Face, co-curators Jane Gottesman and Geoffrey Biddle have assembled images by some of America’s most recognized photojournalists and fine-art photographers, a tremendous mix of perspectives creating a spirited and inclusive debate about the ways women play and compete. Included is work by Mary Ellen Mark, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, Tina Barney, Lee Friedlander, Justine Kurland, Ruth Orkin, Eve Fowler, Andrea Modica, Larry Fink, Bill Owens, Charles Harbutt, and Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Wells, April Saul, Melissa Farlow, and Rick Rickman, among many others.

Game Face has been endorsed by the Girl Scouts of the USA which has developed a Game Face patch program, the YWCA of the USA,and the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, as well as the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s Committee on Women’s Athletics. Game Face Productions, the entity administering the project, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting visual literacy and social progress. It produces books, exhibitions, and educational projects using a combination of photography and writing.

Game Face was created by Jane Gottesman, a former staff writer for The San Francisco Chronicle and curated by Gottesman and photographer and editor Geoffrey Biddle.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color book published by Random House. Game Face has been on a national tour since 2001. The de Saisset Museum will be the final and only Bay Area venue for the exhibition.

This exhibition has been organized by Game Face Productions and sponsored by MassMutual Financial Group, including OppenheimerFunds, Inc. Media sponsorship by The Mercury News. This exhibition is presented in conjunction with the SCU Athletics Department, the SCU Alumni Relations Department, SCU’s Program for the Study of Women and Gender, SCU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative and Team-Up for Youth.

Click here for a printable flyer with information on the Free Educational Programs associated with Game Face.

Image: Aimee Mullins, Lynn Johnson, San Diego, CA, 1997


Game Face is sponsored by
Mass Mutual
 Oppenheimer Funds
with local support from
The Mercury News  Next Press  Team Up For Youth