Two of the best books to read on the period are:
The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene 1974-1984
Edited by Marvin J. Taylor
"This book charts the intricate web of influences that shaped the generation of experimental and outsider artists working in Downtown New York during the crucial decade from 1974 to 1984. Published in conjunction with the first major exhibition of downtown art (organized by New York University's Grey Art Gallery and Fales Library), The Downtown Book brings the Downtown art scene to life, exploring everything from Punk rock to performance art."
Art After Midnight - Steven Hager
"The outrageous energy of the participants and their subsequent notoriety will carry the reader through this uncritical, discursive pop history of what Hager calls the "Global East Village." He begins with CBGB's and its development as the premier club for punk rock and the nihilistic youth culture of its audience. The author then covers various groupings that were to make Manhattan's East Village and neoexpressionism buzzwords of the '80s: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring receive extensive coverage, as well as performance artists like Ann Magnuson and "personalities" such as Patti Astor. The book culminates with the explosion of galleries in the East Village and its impact on the New York art marketplace. Hager's treatment is unremarkable but, as always, the East Village provides its own momentum."