What artist would not like to make a living doing what they love to do? I don't understand your contempt for those who are able to. If it makes you feel better, I do not believe that most of those painters are rich at this moment, but even if they were, this would not make them a bunch of whores.
If they are now getting media attention and a place in history, that doesn't make them sell-outs.
The Soho art scene was crowded then, and getting way too blue-chip and over-valued. The fact that a number of people went out on a string, and with very few resources created galleries and thus a scene is what is important. That alternate realities can be created. You didn't have to kiss Mary Boone's petunia.
You are falling prey to the same logic that says "ONLY MONEY" makes it worthwhile. You subscribe to its opposite: "ONLY NO MONEY" makes it worthwhile. That's not true either.
What makes it worthwhile and valuable is its spirit, whether anyone buys the artefacts therefrom, or not.
In any event, the people who generally BUY paintings are not you and I. They are the wealthy. So neither can we have contempt for collectors. They support painters, who can choose or not to be purchased.
The point of the East Village scene was making one's own reality, not having to suck up to the entrenched powers that were. If Patti Astor made a killing off FUN Gallery I applaud her, because she believed in it and worked for it. But I doubt she is sitting on some throne built from the exploited bodies of poor artists.