The Chelsea Art Museum opened on West 22nd Street in 2002, committed to exploring “art within a context.” Soon the context of the Chelsea Art Museum’s collection must change. This month in bankruptcy court, the museum’s building was sold for $19.35 million to a New York developer, Albanese Development Corp.

The sale also goes to satisfy part of the debt owed to Hudson Realty Corp. by the building owner, a company controlled by museum director Dorothea Keeser. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ms. Keeser said she also pledged the entire collection as collateral for a separate loan to make mortgage payments. Such a pledge might violate regulations of the state Department of Education’s Board of Regents, which supervises and grants charters to museums.

A spokesperson for Albanese Development Corp. told the WSJ that the firm intends to lease the building to one or several art galleries after the museum has moved out by the end of 2011.

The fate of the Chelsea collection remains unclear …