The German sociologist Dirk Baecker is one of the most prominent voices within contemporary social systems theory and German sociology, but is not well known within the wider circles of international sociology. He follows in the footsteps of Niklas Luhmann, yet in marked contrast with his 'sociological master' Baecker also gives ample attention to the notion of culture. This paper first summarizes some of the main lines in his writings on the notion of culture and on contemporary culture. It then continues with a succinct presentation of Baecker's approach to artistic communication against the background of this more general characterization of the relationship between the individual and society, conscious sensory perception and communication, in terms of an 'aesthetic coupling'. It will be shown that a recurrent figure of thought links up Baecker's various considerations on culture and art, i.e. the inclusion of the excluded.