Kiselewski was born in Browerville, Minnesota and graduated from the Minneapolis School of Art. Along with many other artists of the time, Kiselewski moved to New York City where he studied at the National Academy of Design and at BAID. From 1922 to 1926 he worked as an assistant to Lee Lawrie.
Kiselewski won the Parisian Beaux Arts competition in 1925; received the Prix de Rome in 1926-1929, and was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design, New York City, in 1936, and an Academician in 1944. He received the J. Sanford Saltus Medal in 1970 for excellence in the art of medallic sculpture. He designed various medals for the US Air Force and the US Army (including those for good conduct) in his lifetime, in addition to the American Defense Service Medal.
Four sculptures by Joseph Kiselewski are in the public art collection of the Bronx, in New York City. They include his involvement, in 1932, with several other art deco era sculptors in the creation of Eight Statuary Groups, each 100" x 121" x 70", sculpted from Georgia pink marble, sited at the Bronx County Courthouse, 161st Street & Grand Concourse. Kiselewski's three-feet high granite Frogs, are located at P.S. 18 and Patterson Houses, on Morris Avenue, between 145th and 146th Streets. His bronze Bust of Sylvanus Thayer, 1966, is in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, Bronx Community College/CUNY, on University Avenue and West 181st Street, as is his bronze Bust of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1970.
Kiselewski designed a statue of Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, which is located on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1977 and 1980, Joseph Kiselewski donated his papers, covering the period, 1923–1980, to the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Included in the papers were biographical material; award and teaching certificates; files on sculpture commissions containing contracts, correspondence, financial records, sketches, printed material, notes and photographs; approximately three hundred photographs of the sculptor, his studio, and his work; 2 pencil drawings; and other items.
George Gurney, a Washington, D.C. curator and art historian interviewed twenty-one sculptors in 1977-1978, one of which was Joseph Kiselewski, for an exhibition, "Sculpture and the Federal Triangle," held at the National Museum of American Art, October 26, 1979 through January 6, 1980. While Gurney conducted most of the interviews on tape, there is only a questionnaire answered by Kiselewski, which is part of the Gurney material, also on file in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.