This 18-carat gold toilet can now be used at New York's Guggenheim Museum

New York’s renowned Guggenheim Museum is replacing one of its standard porcelain toilets with an upscale equivalent — an 18-carat, solid gold toilet that will be open to the public to use.

The piece, an artwork by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, titled America, is a social commentary on the disparities between and the "haves" and the "have-nots" of the world, the museum said in a blog entry.

Visitors are invited to reflect upon whilst they "make use of the fixture individually and privately,” it added.

This 18-carat gold toilet can now be used at New York's Guggenheim Museum

Cattelan, 55, is known for his provocative sculptures. (Photo by Kristopher McKay | Guggenheim Museum)

According to The New Yorker, a guard will remain by the restroom where the toilet is located and the piece will be cleaned every 15 minutes using special wipes.

The exhibit has also drawn comparisons with Marcel Duchamp's avant-garde "Fountain", the porcelain urinal he exhibited in New York in 1917, causing a sensation in the art world.

Cattelan, 55, is known for his provocative sculptures, including La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), which depicted Pope John Paul II floored by a meteorite.