He served in the U.S. Army from June 1941 until December 1945, for the majority of the time as non-commissioned officer in charge of Special Services Section, Athletics and Entertainment, in the headquarters offices of various regiments, divisions, and corps.
He later settled in Los Angeles, where for many years he lived with his roommate Clint at 3279 Descanso Drive.
He was a modernist painter, working in a variety of media. He is credited with developing geometric abstraction in the late 1960s.
He was also a songwriter and member of ASCAP.
He died in a Los Angeles nursing home on July 14, 1996, of prostate cancer.
His papers are held at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives and consist of diaries kept by Dan Wiesendanger from 1976 until mid-1995, documenting the events in his life, his friends, and family, including reminiscences of his earlier life. A separate series of diaries documents Wiesendanger's work as an artist and his activities within the artists' communities of Los Angeles and Pasadena.
The Geometric Unconscious: A Century of Abstraction (American Transnationalism: Perspectives from the Sheldon Museum of Art)
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (July 1, 2012)
Amazon: The Geometric Unconscious: A Century of Abstraction
Inspired by the Sheldon Museum of Art’s holdings in geometric abstraction, this book introduces adventurous new thinking about a visual approach that has captivated both artists and viewers for more than a century. Four richly illustrated essays explore the European genesis of geometric abstraction, its translation into an American context, and its current direction, charting the style’s aesthetic, intellectual, and social implications.
Sharon L. Kennedy’s essay draws on the Sheldon’s collection to trace the style’s beginnings and its various transformations by twentieth-century American artists. Peter Halley invokes contemporary theory in rethinking how postmodern artists engage with geometry while challenging its most basic presumptions. Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe delves into the work of four contemporary artists who are taking geometry in new directions, and Jorge Daniel Veneciano reveals the persistent manner in which theorists and defenders of geometric abstraction have obscured aspects of its history and contributed to the esoteric aura of modern art.
Featured throughout are full-color reproductions of art from both the Sheldon and private collections, including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by diverse artists such as Ilya Bolotowsky, Carmen Herrera, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Piet Mondrian, Odili Donald Odita, Frank Stella, and Charmion von Wiegand.